The Breakfast Table

Y Not 2K?


My point wasn’t to marvel that Americans are more interested in weather than sex scandals (something different, I hope, from sex), but to marvel that anyone should question these reasonable priorities. I once heard about a man who spent hours digging out a parking space after the 1979 Chicago blizzard only to see another car swoop in and take it. Naturally, the digger shot the driver. I would have, too. Call it snow rage.

Now I’d like to turn away from the politics of weather to plain politics again. What do you think–will Elizabeth Dole throw her hat in the ring in 2000? I’m getting different takes from my pack of dailies. Following an unconfirmed Newsweek story, the Times, Daily News, and Post all speculate that she may be quitting her job as head of the Red Cross to run for president, but the Post quotes Dole’s assurance to Larry King last June that she had no plans to enter the race. Meanwhile, the Times dredged up an interview from November where she said, “I’ve learned never to say never.” And a source for the Daily News proposed that the Republicans would prefer to see her as vice president. Another question: If there’s a showdown for the Republican nomination between Dole and Bush, will it be possible to recycle any old bumper stickers? And can we consider this a step in the right direction of campaign finance reform?

Now I’d like to talk about millennial frenzy. In my editorial for the January issue of Interiors, I said that there seemed to be less than one might expect at this juncture–unless one counts anxiety over Y2K. Now I read that members of an apocalyptic cult from Denver are suspected of plotting to shoot police in the Old City of Jerusalem as a way of bringing about the Second Coming of Christ. (“They were so nice, so quiet, so polite,” said one policeman who helped round them up. “In retrospect, there were some things that seemed weird.”) The director of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University predicts in the Times that more American millennialists should be in Jerusalem by the end of Easter. Must sign off to do some quick rewriting.