It’s hard to look back on 2011 as a good year.

–  Since the year 2000 the US National Debt has increased from $5 trillion to $15 trillion
–  Unemployment rates have hovered between 8% and 10% for the past two years
–  The S&P500 index began and ended 2011 at exactly 1,257 points – showing zero growth on the year
–  Republicans and Democrats in Congress seem locked in a perpetual stalemate – and outside of Congress both sides have launched grassroots protests against the direction our country is heading

As I sat last night watching the televised coverage of Times Square, I couldn’t help but wonder if all those people huddled in the streets were celebrating the coming of 2012, or the end of 2011.  The noise makers and dancing people would suggest a celebration; however the commentators and street-interviewers were sure to insert periodic reminders that our economic wounds are far from healed.

As midnight approached, a practically inaudible Dick Clark served as a solemn reminder that our country has aged.  His appearance, year after year seems to embody our desire to keep the past alive – to hold onto the boom times of the 70’s and 80’s.

However, amid the darkness – some hope shows through.

–  Every US Soldier that had been stationed in Iraq got to spend New Year’s Eve at home
–  Osama Bin Laden no longer threatens the world
–  The Internet continues to bring people together and make the world a smaller place

Here’s to 2012.

Hope in the New Year
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