Saaret Yoseph is a writer and Assistant Editor at TheRoot.com. She manages and blogs for \"Their Eyes Were Watching …\"
Most of us went into 2009 with all of the optimism in the world. The first black president ever was sworn into office. The biggest pop star in the world would be returning to the stage. Oprah continued to control the lives of millions of white people. We had every reason to smile. That is, if you ignored the recession. There's still some reasons to smile about 2009 — you're alive to read this — but we can't ignore some of the disappointments. Here's a breakdown of nine things we didn't see in 2009.
CAPTIONS BY MICHAEL ARCENEAUX
There's no public option, the proposed Medicare expansion that would've added millions within months of enactment was shelved — and did I mention there's no public option? What we seem to have is a bill that will require uninsured people to buy plans that likely could've been a lot cheaper had the president and his compatriots in the House and Senate actually put up a fight against insurance and pharmaceutical companies. But hey, they did vote on a bill so, uh…yay?
OK, so it's not as serious as getting affordable medicine, but you have to listen to something while you wait in line at the free clinic, don't you? Earlier this year, I received countless emails hyping the return of D'Angelo. He was working out again with his trainer; he was scheduling a tour for the summer with a new album to drop in the fall. Did any of that come to fruition? No, and the most we got out of D'Angelo was a new picture of him looking like he just raided Popeyes and the Black & Mild section of the corner store. Music comeback fail!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but President Obama was the anti-war candidate, no? The one who pointed out how wrong it was to go into Iraq when our true enemies were elsewhere? What a difference time-and a title—make. Now we've got Obama sending 30,000 more troops to the empire killer (that's Afghanistan to you) and a blurrier timeline about just when we're going to get out of there and Iraq. Is anyone else feeling a little déjà vu?
The GOP was heavily criticized for morphing into a party that only appealed to people who watch old episodes of Dukes of Hazzard and Mama's Family. Soon after came calls to reinvent the GOP into a modern party that appealed to the masses. That lasted about three days until the birthers, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and other xenophobes with questionable levels of sanity, snatched the mic away — and never looked back. This year, Michael Steele asked us, "Who's down with G-O-P?" In 2012, be ready to scream back, "Not one of the homies."
I would have never given much thought about who Usher decided to put a ring on, had he and his bride not wasted every single interview roasting bloggers for questioning their love. They said they would prove the haters (can we bury this word already?) wrong. What do you know? They got divorced in fewer than two years.
Everyone had high hopes for Sheila Dixon, the first female mayor of Baltimore. Surely she'd be bringing good things to "Bawl-duh-mo" (sorry, that's how most of ya'll pronounce it). Too bad she got caught up in scandal. Yes, she was acquitted of federal felony theft charges. But she still may lose her gig after being convicted of embezzlement for stealing gift cards intended for the poor. Keep it classy, Sheila!
Hollywood hasn't forgotten that black people exist, have they? They couldn't have, because I know the CW got all of those emails, letters and phone calls about the cancellation of The Game. Yet, no matter how much we protest, it seems the major networks think you can't sell a show with a majority black cast. Why not give us another shot at making everyone laugh, cry and think? We've proven we can do it before.
We gave these corporations billions of dollars to clean up the mess they made. What do they do with it? Turn a profit and change not a one of the shifty practices that created everyone else's financial hell. Not mad yet?
Yes, patience is certainly a virtue. But so is eating on a daily basis — and having good credit. C'mon, job market. C'mon, real reform. We would really like to see a turnaround in the New Year.