“As years go, they don’t get much worse than 2002,” writes Alternet’s Don Hazen in his year-end wrap up. With the current threat of war, civil liberties under attack, the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, and an America that includes the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Department, and Total Information Awareness, 2002 hasn’t been easy. We haven’t yet invaded Iraq, but this may be waiting for us just around the bend in 2003.
Hazen names 10 “threatening themes identified from the right-wing quagmire,” including a successful conservative effort to transform the nation, ‘Big Brother on Steroids,’ Bush’s reign of eco-terror, and racism and xenophobia. But despite the overwhelming challenges faced by progressives in 2002, Hazen cites 10 rays of hope on the horizon, reasons for optimism from the past year that continue on into the next. These include the rapid response peace movement that has mobilized across the nation, the smashing success of filmmaker Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, columnists who continue to criticize Bush’s policies, and the power of the Internet to organize for change.
The encouraging themes from this year also included socially conscious hip hop, a number of elected officials who stuck with their convictions, and inspirational leaders of groups from the ACLU to Greenpeace and Books Not Bars.