2002 the palindromic year looks from the end exactly the way it looked at the beginning. It started with war, it's ending with war. The economy was bad from the go, it's bad at the get. In between there occurred a number of momentous changes, such as the overthrow of the American government, a blitzkrieg on civil liberties, and the establishment of a shadow police state. All this was accomplished by the Bush-Cheney Oil Dynasty at the speed of light with the collusion of the stunned populace.
Not all of this is bad. The overthrow of the government was overdue. Breaking up the slow-chugging, noxious machine of the Immigration and Naturalization Service is a marvelous thing. Shaking up the FBI and the CIA and the dozen or so other secret police agencies is thrilling to see. What's not good is that all those organisms are being reintegrated into the Borg of the Homeland Security Office and its dense shadow, the Office of Information Awareness headed by a real felon, Admiral Poindexter. The conservative ideologues who've been riding high since they brought Reagan to power must be horrified by now. Their dream of "smaller government" has turned into the nightmare of a huge one.
The war in Afghanistan freed the Afghani people from the horrid Taliban regime and a war in Iraq might free the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's bloody dictatorship. That's good. What's not so good is that the war machine sweeps civil liberties in its wake and puts the military mind in charge of the Republic. Censorship and propaganda replace free speech. Both conservatives and libertarians left and right should be horrified by now.
And then there are the things that should horrify everybody, indifferent of their ideological beliefs. Corporate bandits have destroyed sound American corporations, the Saudis call the shots from their oil palaces, and the former Republican Senate Majority Leader is nostalgic for apartheid in the United States. But only the people affected are horrified: the jobless employees with looted retirement plans, the frustrated law-enforcement who can't touch the Saudis, and people of color who realize (again) that the demon of race-hate is still among us.
That leaves everybody else, shopping on credit with eyes closed, lightly snoring. Are the somnambulists safe? Not a chance. When they wake up, the real and virtual highways will have been secured, and everything they've bought, read or watched will have been recorded by Big Brother who is the bigger brother of Orwell's 1984 Big Brother. Nighty-night, 2002. Hello, Year One.