I have never been one to make New Year's resolutions. After all, a calendar is very arbitrary. One can make a fresh start on anything at anytime, without the benefit of a new number on the calendar. Still, 2009 seems like it will be a milestone year in a number of ways.
Shortly into the new year, we will see the United States, a nation that the current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice said was “born with the birth defect of slavery”; inaugurate its first African-American President, proving that this is the land of opportunity and that we have made great strides in getting past the history of both slavery and racial discrimination. Hopefully we are a lot closer to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King of an America where people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
We are in the throes of an economic disaster that is the worst one in the lifetime of most Americans, and the deepest recession since the days of The Great Depression. We are finding out that the wisdom of living below one's means is always a good policy, and that saving for a rainy day isn't a bad idea. While we are still a long way from the type of economy that gripped the world during the 1930s, no one really knows how bad it will get, or how long it will last.
As people lose their jobs, they lose not only their income, but also their heath care. The new President and Congress must finally figure out a way to address the failings of our current system, which ends up being more expensive than it should, since we truly have not health care, but sick care. People cannot afford preventive measures, and end up in emergency rooms when things become dire. All of us end up paying the tab. Surely there is a better way to “promote the general welfare” of our citizens.
The spectre of global terrorism still is with us over seven years after the September 11 attacks; maybe more so than ever before. Horrific acts perpetrated by human beings upon other human beings because of some offense to their idea of a god threatens to bring untold misery to millions. This nation, despite all its military and economic might, cannot unilaterally impose its will upon the rest of the world, nor should it be our policy to attempt to do so. We must find a way to begin the arduous and lengthy process of trying to bring rational thought to irrational people.
This is doubly difficult when irrational thought still runs so rampant in America. As we saw in the Presidential primary debates, questions about whether a candidate believes literally in the Genesis mythology were asked. The office of President of the United States is a political office in a secular republic, not a pastoral position. The question is irrelevant and in fact flies in the face of the fact that there is no religious test for public office.
So knowing that there is little to nothing I can do in the face of these immense issues facing the nation and the world, I can only effect change in small ways; in ways that have a much more individual impact on me and those around me. With that, here are some New Year's resolutions for me for 2009.
Lose a few pounds - This is probably the most common one for many people, but let's just get it out of the way.
Keep my job – In this challenging economy, there are few things I can control. I cannot even control if my employer continues to keep me around. What I can control is to continue to give my best effort every day, give them a day's work for a day's pay; and hopefully my bosses will realize that I am a valuable asset to the business.
Feed the hungry – While the lovely spouse and I do occasionally get items for the food bank,we can do more.
Provide warmth – Get blankets and coats to some of those who have no home, and suffer the cold of the Colorado's winter.
Make more visits to my parents and the lovely spouse's parents – If employment remains stable in this horrific economy, I have reached the point where I finally get 3 weeks of vacation. Rather than one trip a year to each set of parents, more frequent trips of shorter duration will be the routine.
Explore alternate income sources – With the uncertainty of our economy, it is incumbent upon each of us to figure out ways to survive should the worst case scenario come to pass.
Change the world by contact – I am a compassionate person who tries to keep everything in perspective. I was not always this way, years ago being quick to anger over things that don't really matter. So I want to continue to reach out to people with grace, respect, and a calm demeanor, even in the midst of crises.
To be there for my family – I believe this is the case today. I want to continue this, whatever the situation.
I wish to all, peace, joy, love, and prosperity in 2009!