How Will We Refer To The Next Ten Years?
LIANE HANSEN, host:
WEEKEND EDITION welcomes 2010 with poet and author E. Ethelbert Miller, who contemplates what the next year and the next decade will bring.
Mr. E. ETHELBERT MILLER (Poet, Author): As 2010 gets ready to sit down beside me, I've begun thinking about not a new year, but a new decade. How will we refer to the next 10 years? Mention the nickname for a decade and one might immediately think of the Roaring '20s and all those images of jazz, F. Scott Fitzgerald and, yes, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Harlem.
Who could remember the '30s without thinking about the Great Depression and long unemployment lines? The '60s gave us the Civil Rights Movement, Muhammad Ali jabs, Vietnam and the anti-war protests. It was a time to be outrageous, fabulous and young.
But what about 2010? What happens when we peek around the corner and try to see ahead or guess what's coming? I want to walk into 2010 with a degree of optimism and hope. I would even like to strut into happiness. I don't want two major wars in the world to become three. I don't want Katrina to introduce me to her sister or girlfriend and hit a city with another disaster.
I prefer to hear about more jobs being created instead of more jobs being lost. I hope the next decade won't be this century's terrible teens - nothing worse than those difficult and tough years of adolescence.
Might we get in trouble and start another world war? Will we destroy more monuments that are precious and sacred? How do we tell the world it has to mature and do something about global warming? Will we continue to walk around without belts and pants falling down into the year 2016?
When I hear about certain countries wanting nuclear weapons, I shiver. The last thing we need is a nation playing with nukes like they were guns.
We all need to act our age, but what age is it? 2010 is coming, and I hope some of us don't return to counting our fingers and toes. In a few days, I'll say another prayer wishing for more peace and love in the world. I'll take 2010 by the hand and together we will walk in the park, count our blessings and feed the birds.
HANSEN: Poet E. Ethelbert Miller is board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies and director of the African-American Resource Center at Howard University.
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