Y2K – all the doomsday scenarios; all the fear, paranoia and hoarding. When January 1, 2000 arrived, so did just another day.
So the news for this January 1st in the new millennium was about what didn’t go wrong and how much things didn’t change despite highly-visible assurances that it would. For one thing, none of the much-publicized computer glitches, the glitches that would spell doom for just about every aspect of power, communication and functioning in the world, didn’t materialize. All those runs on supermarkets and hardware stores, all that stocking up on supplies and rations – the buying frenzy of guns and survival equipment, the stockpiling – all that stuff, destined to sit and go past its sell-by date – the guy who had a four-month supply of Spam, just in case. . . .all for nothing.
And that’s how the new year started, this January 1 in 2000. Sigh of relief, fog of hangover – another day, just like the other day, only this one started with a 20 and no longer a 19.
So from the news of the day followed a look back at the year – what 1999 was all about. A look at a skewed and contentious year, a year with a lot of politics; the jockeying for position for the coming Presidential election. Looking at a historic vote on a Presidential Impeachment which came and went with no fanfare.
A new and more threatening fear at home, more than the fear of a computer glitch, was the fear that kids with guns would lay siege to their schools. Columbine high School in Littleton Colorado served as a flash point and a warning that it could, and would, happen all around the country. And for a time, places of learning were looked at with doubts and concerns that the mere act of getting an education could be a dangerous proposition. It all brought about the seemingly endless argument for more gun control – and the seemingly endless refusal to consider it by members of the NRA – and the journey of hand-wringing and calls for responsibility took a fever-pitch turn, only until the anger died down, the crisis passed and the news brought some fresh new distraction, and the calls would be forgotten about until the next time, and the next and the next. And the year 2000 was looking to be more of the same.
And the year started with a new face in the Kremlin – with Boris Yeltsin stepping down and Vladimir Putin assuming the reigns, it was time to get to know this new leader and wonder if he would be around for a while or not.
And there was the list of passings in 1999. Familiar names; names we hadn’t heard in a while. Just like every year.
And so it went – news for this first day of January in a new century and look at the last year of the old century, all via CBS Radio News and the Weekend Roundup Year-End edition for January 1, 2000. We survived – we still survive.