I keep wondering, if our high court had not declared George W. Bush president after the 2000 election, what would I have written about during those eight years that he led the nation.
Of course, I’ll never know, but that was one question that came to mind when reflecting on the highlights of the past decade and a half of column writing. Yes, with this installment, I complete my first 15 years of writing a regular column for The Daily Star.
And I never missed a turn, though I know some readers wished that I had missed my deadline on numerous occasions.
My reputation today may be as a liberal commentator on political and economic issues, but that was never my intention. In fact, in 1999 and 2000, few of my columns were political. I wrote about such topics as the Y2K bug that never materialized, MOSA, the 30th anniversary of the first moon landing, and teen angst (since I had two teenage daughters).
Being against wars since the 1960s, in 1999 I did question why there was so little opposition to the NATO/U.S. air strikes in Yugoslavia. But it was the 2000 election that sent me over the political edge, and for the first time I attracted a swarm of negative reaction.
A column, written a few days after the election, questioned the wisdom of voters for electing Bush, and suggested that he would lower the bar for the presidency.
I was accused of “biased reporting,” having “misguided ideas,” spouting “seedy drivel” disguised as writing and, in effect, calling voters “morons.” In my next column, I had to explain the difference between news reporting and opinion writing.
Unfortunately, it did not take long for my greatest fears about President Bush to be warranted. Months before 9/11, I warned about the saber-rattling going on in Washington.