Russian meddling and Y2K hysteria

Does anyone remember that quaint apocalyptic hysteria called Y2K?

Remember when you were a teenager and so excited that you were going out with your first crush. You: showered, brushed your teeth, dressed right. Hanging out, both laughing when you go for it. You go for a cheek kiss and suddenly your lips met. Your blood pressure rose and you could feel every muscle in your body getting tense, then mom called and says its time to leave and go back home, never to be heard from again.

Y2K was like that. The biggest (non)event in history. A media-produced hysteria at its worst.

As 2000 approached, experts warned of an impending cataclysm. They predicted computer systems around the world would crash and burn because they couldn’t handle a four digit year. Then the fateful day came, and nothing much happened. What was the story? Did doom and gloomers exaggerate the danger? Or did we rise to the challenge and fix everything in the nick of time? Even now, 18 years later, we still don’t know.

I’ll never forget that New Year’s Eve. My wife and I were dancing to Abba at a friends home when suddenly the clock struck 12, and life went on as normal.

This Russian hacking into our voting system is Y2K All Over Again.

Back then people were terrified! Was all the hysteria and measures taken worth the cost? After all, nearly $100 billion was spent in America preparing for the event. The bug was touted by fringe conspiracy theorists, political leaders and news moguls. The year 2000 was linked to global collapse and nuclear war, not to mention worldwide hospital and airplane failure. The only casualty was some guy getting charged 100 years of late fees at his video store.

Whether or not this non-disaster was because of all the money we spent or because it was never a big deal at all will remain purely speculative. Perhaps, a touch more hysterical than it needed to be. However, it did make for a good movie.

There have always been a few people around who think the world as we know it is about to end. I myself wasn’t that worried, my theory being that the earth has been around 4.5 billion years, so the odds of it ending during my life were small.

Anyway, we’re still here. Was it all just a huge goof that faked almost everyone?

So far what we know about Russia hacking into our election process was that someone hacked into one state’s system and gained access to voter registration; however, no votes were changed.

All this election hacking seems like a lot of expensive Y2K hullabaloo to me.

Robert Ware

French Creek

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