Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year

So we’re in 2018 now!  Wow!  What a year 2017 was! 

What word (or words) could we best use to describe our corporate lives and experiences in 2017?  

“Politics”?      (Tweets, “fake news”, Alternative Facts, cover-ups, Russia, and all the other subcategories)

Some avoid political discussions like they avoid a person with crazy eyes, a demented smile and open drippy sores just wanting a hug.  Nope… not gonna happen! 

Some may still discuss politics, but only in small doses so as to avoid the bad taste that can easily overwhelm the mouth.    

There’s for sure national political events that grabbed our attention, what with the Democrats and Republicans battling it out between themselves (and each other!  It’s almost like they’re each in a struggle to figure out not only who they are, but who they want to be) over who gets all the spoils of war… forgetting this isn’t civil-war played out in political arenas, but seems to now be a deeply existential issue of who we are – and are to become – as a corporate body called the United States of America!

“Political Activism”?   (Okay two words, but still…)
An extension of Political Activism is “finding/asserting one’s voice”.  This year started with a huge (worldwide) march; women, girls, and their supporters, many with their pink hats, speaking together with their bodily presence.    

White Nationalism also seemed to reassert its ugly voice (you’d have thought by 2017 we’d have been past this!).  The events in Charlottesville sadly a reminder that it’s easier for us to demonize the “stranger”, the “foreigner”, the one that’s “different” as a scape goat for what ails us as a culture, rather than doing the much harder work of self-assessment and re-calibration.   

The “Me Too” movement, that has been trying to light for decades, finally caught.  Men of national stature have been toppled from their lofty heights, examples to other men at various levels of loft.  This kind of authoritarianism – men who have abused (and still abuse) both women and men simply because they feel they are able to – is reprehensible, destructive, and wrong.  Men who have made this a practice of their position are nothing more than tyrants.  At its best, let this movement guide us to our better selves.  Let us hope the arrows of this movement aim true towards those deserving of the shots, avoiding “collateral damage” in the process.

Speaking of finding one’s voice, I took my son to his first political rally.  He feels very strongly about Net Neutrality and wanted to participate in the march in DC a few weeks ago.  Now, he’s 13, and while he has a good working knowledge of the practicalities of net neutrality, he may not grasp the deeper political and economic implications.  But still, he was excited to meet and hear the junior Senator from Massachusetts Ed Markey (he fist-bumped him), Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, and FCC commissioner Clyburn among others. 

The whole nation watched the Alabama senatorial race like it was some kind of bad circus act we somehow felt compelled to watch anyway.   Some of the interviews I heard of some AL voters made them sound like their issues were for the most part political expediency wrapped in moral and religious language. 

There’s that bitter taste again.  

Seems 2017 saw the chickens of distrust and suspicion come home to roost.   Or were they pushed there… like us?   We’re being manipulated to mistrust reporting, to take sides… to see those on the other side as “the enemy” (of the people).   For or against?   And the seeds of distrust are sprinkled liberally across Flanders field. 

Are there things to fear and be anxious about?  Sure there are; the North Korean situation, our $21T national debt, health care limitations.  I could go on.  But is it too much to expect our national leadership to navigate the ship of State standing tall behind the rudder, with eyes open to reality, yes – calculating a navigable course around obstacles.  And to do so with a sense of honor and decorum befitting the post of leadership.  The better leaders help us rise above our pettiness, help us rise to our best selves.  They help us find the better angels of our natures…  not catering and pandering to the basest parts of us.

Who said seeing this as a “zero-sum” game is the only way to see this?  There are other options!  Do your damnedest to not fall for this.   Resist this tendency towards manipulation!  Think, listen, inform yourself from various sources – perhaps on different sides of the spectrum.   We are all on the same ship.  We could either fight amongst ourselves, or work cooperatively towards a better tomorrow. 

Okay – Laughter helps us see the same thing, only differently:  Speaking of distrust –    Never trust atoms…  they make up everything!  

“Natural Disaster”? 
Wow, this country sure has taken a One–Two (and Three–Four) punch, with fires, and hurricanes, et.al.   All the more reason to work together.  Natural disasters have always afflicted us, and they always will.   Helping people recover seems to lower our guard, it helps us acquaint ourselves with our humanity again.  It helps us remember we are indeed of one people, no matter our skin color, religion, or origin! 

We have rounded to corner of 2018…
What will this new year bring?   Well, wouldn’t you like to know.   Wouldn’t I like to know too.   I don’t know specifics, but I don’t think I’ll be going out on a limb in saying it’ll be like 2017, only more so. 

Yes we’ll have issues related to politics *gag* (a little taste of bile there… sorry) and everything that’s attached to that world now-a-days.   But I go back to the Informed Electorate thing; finger pointing and name calling only works if you just listen to that.  Double check, find other sources, do the homework.  This sheds light not just in us, but on the issues.  

Stand for something bigger than yourself!   Stand for light.  Yes, I get that Nazis think they’re right too, but how do we know they’re not?  We know by looking to those aspects of our higher selves; Reason – it is irrational to blame all your problems to “the Jews”, or any other group.   Life is a lot more complicated than that.  We start with ourselves first.   Morality – basing a system on hate and superiority seems to have the seeds of its own demise already present.  And Faith – A god that would call you to beliefs and acts of hate is pretty plainly not the God of Jesus!

Let’s look to make the world a better place!   A great time for a Gandhi quote:  “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Light isn’t needed so much when the sun is up and shining bright.   It’s needed more when the sun is covered by clouds.   Is this idealistic?  Yeah.   Is this too idealistic?  Is there ever a time where idealism is not useful?   Is there ever a bad time for idealism?       

Folks, here’s the deal… we are a people of faith.  Faith calls from us a belief in something that has not can come, but has not yet come.  Faith calls from us a belief that we are more than our baser selves.  Faith calls from us a belief that we are people of light, called to shine in a world that needs light.   And faith calls from us a sense of responsibility to act for a better world, today.  

So, what will 2018 bring?    It will be the field in which we plant the tree of life.   And it will birth something wonderful… for generations to come.  

In spite of the yuck, we must believe in a new tomorrow, in a tree of life that grows strong and firm. 

Together with each other and God… tomorrow will be a New Day!

What's the word for 2018?...   
"Hope"     "Faith"     "Truth"      "Strength"      "Unity"...   all good words to hang a hat on!

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