Is it just me or is everything in the world spinning and changing so fast it's almost impossible to keep up? I'm exhausted.
Dictatorships are falling in large part to their citizens' use of Facebook and Twitter to organize protests. Egyptians have toppled their government. The world is holding its collective breath as we wait for the next despot to be exiled, holding out hope that the end result will be better than the original. Libya? Bahrain? Iran? What country will be next? What will the world look like next year?
Proposed deep budget cuts in the U.S. federal government and state government services are going to affect all U.S. citizens. Congress is setting up for a government shutdown unless compromise can be accomplished. The protests in Wisconsin over budget cuts are only the first for state governments. The state agency I work for in Oklahoma is facing consolidation with another agency and massive budget cuts if our newly elected Republican Governor has her way with a Republican majority house and senate. I think her chances are pretty good! Citizens will have to decide if they really want the changes that are coming. Yes, elections have consequences. I'm just not sure everyone understood how the changes would affect them personally.
Because of my day job for a state agency I'm acutely aware that President Obama has just this past year geared up federal environmental agencies for a massive change in the interpretation of existing environmental laws. His new policies would open the door for direct federal enforcement of those new interpretations, ignoring state laws and programs. The result of the direct enforcement would be massive loss of jobs and industry. The states are pushing back, reminding the federal government that they can't change laws or create new laws via policy statements. But so far they've turned a blind eye and deaf ear to our protests and attempts to reason with them. The whole issue is heading for court. In the midst of this battle, suddenly the President creates a new White House working group to protect jobs from unnecessary federal regulations. He wants to reduce regulations that stifle business. What the [insert appropriate curse word] is going on? The President needs to learn what his right hand and his left hand are doing.
Oh, by the way, Happy Presidents Day! Sigh.
Before the year is over we'll know what government services are really important to us. The public libraries that survive over the next five years will do so because they find additional sources of funding and attract new users. They will have to add more digital content, e-readers, and many more computers. Public schools? I'm not sure what they are going to do. Class sizes will increase, teachers will be laid off, and kids won't have desks, chairs, or books.
Brick and mortar bookstores are disappering. You might not be able to find a bookstore in your favorite mall. The local independents are hanging on by a thread. The publishing giants are rushing to accommodate the ebook revolution as authors self-publish their own books via electronic platforms at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Smashwords. I was speaking with a friend who collects first editions and autographed books. She wonders if the next generation will find any value in her old fashioned "print" book collections.
And of course on top of all the other turmoil, there's the weather. Should I mention the crazy weather? Everyone has had some this year. This month Oklahoma went from a normal 6 or 7 inches a year to 20-some odd inches of snow in a two day span. Then the weather flip flopped with one town registering a -20 F. (actual temperature not wind chill) to a week later registering a very muddy 80 F.
I don't know what everyone else is going to do, but this seems like the perfect time to escape to the more rational world of fiction. I'm going to read, write, and hope next year is, if not better, at least calmer.
aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David
Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Sullivan Investigation Series
Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the Cake- Paperback - Kindle
Murder Off the Books- Paperback - Kindle
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords