The year 2000 began and civilization did not collapse-nor did the American political system collapse toward the end of the year. "Momentary mercy," one WORLD subscriber called it-because who knows what 2001 will bring? But mercy indeed left us with memories filled to the brim.
The year with three zeroes was a year with zero large-scale wars but just about every other type of human misery, including hardly-civil wars or battles in Sudan and Indonesia, and persecution for religious belief in dozens of lands. Through it all, despite terrorist actions that killed Americans abroad and threatened to do the same internally, it seemed that these United States remained largely untouched, with seven fat years of economic growth under our belt and more to come, we hoped.
British sportsman Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) wrote, "The three great apostles of practical atheism that make converts without persecuting, and retain them without preaching, are health, wealth, and power." America as a whole, and many Americans individually, had them all in 2000. If we had read the Bible more, we could have been reassured by Horace Greeley's statement that "It is impossible to enslave mentally and socially a Bible-reading people." But even though 92 percent of American households own at least one Bible and the average household owns three, a Gallup survey showed that fewer than half of Americans knew the name of the Bible's first book.
So here's our review of this year: politics and sports (sometimes interchangeable), China trade and Firestone trade-ins, Elián and Putin, wildfires and wild denominational struggles, revelatory riffs and midriffs, Genome and RU-486, Whassup?! and "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Our creative political leaders found a way to make presidential campaigns last from January to December, and our cultural pioneers continued to go where no man or woman had gone before, and where few would want to go. It was a great year to be a journalist.