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January 1, 2000

Waking up in the year 2000. Weird. It's a little like finding myself in an episode of Lost in Space. (Or at least Time Tunnel.) They got it wrong though, the visionary futurists, didn't they? Where are the flying cars and food replicators? Where is Rosie the Robot?

Scotty, do you have my coordinates? I'm not sure I belong here.

Happy new year. There. I can be as upbeat and optimistic as anyone. After all, the future is the only thing we can do anything about. If we remember the lessons of the twentieth century, we should be able to forge a better world in the twenty-first. By staying vigilant, we can guide humanity away from evils like Hitler and the Holocaust, wars like Vietnam and Iraq, diseases like polio and AIDS. There may be other evils, other wars, other diseases. But we've learned to be wary. The twentieth century was a stern schoolmaster, and we've been drilled pretty well in the dangers of letting our guard down. The more we know and remember, the more hopeful we have a right to be for the future.

Somewhere in our midst are the ancestors of babies not yet born, babies who will grow up to leave the world a better place. The person who will root out evil, or stop a war, or cure a disease may be alive now. If not, his or her parents or grandparents probably are. If we can't be hopeful on the first day of a year, any year but especially 2000, then we might as well crawl back into the caves. Watching the millennium track around the world and seeing how diverse and yet how similar we all are was a spiritual experience, a twenty-four-hour look into the way things could be. Should be. There was a lot of joy around the globe yesterday. Let's hope some of it spills over into the next thousand years.

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