To all of my friends, I wish you a hearty and happy New Year! In retrospect, we have much to be grateful for and even more to aspire to.
It has been a tough year, often seeming like a grind to get through each day. The financial markets finished the year basically unchanged. However, there were plenty of ups and downs within that time span. And that is the icing on the cake, as well as the cake itself: things happen, we become ourselves as if no change is visible, but in the end, so much has altered our course. The true measure of progress is not where we start or finish, but rather in all the stuff that happens in between. Here are 10 things to be thankful for over the last year:
The year 2012 will appear on the horizon whether we are ready or not. Politically, the old year was a draw also. The push and pull of partisan government has turned out to be a stalemate. The ambition to get re-elected held definite sway over the community spirit of governing by the people and for the people. In my opinion, the deciding factor, although seemingly benign on the scale of moveable feasts, was the caving in of Boehner’s House to extend the 2% payroll cut for two more months. Of course this was just another incident of kicking the can down the road, i.e. not really governing by dealing with our budgetary woes on an annual basis but instead just a short-term extension (woe be to those actions that might endanger a politico’s re-election). A mere band-aid. How ironic it is that our government is afraid of doing what they were elected to do and that the elected individuals lose sight of any cohesive plan on a longer basis?
We are faced with a new beginning tomorrow. Can we as individuals, as members of a community and a force in the global mechanics of government make the interval between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 matter? Can we take a stance that reaffirms all that our Constitution and rich history imply? There were a few incidents where we really hugged the edge of moral and financial solvency and almost fell off the cliff. Yet, our great American resiliency brought us back to safety. However, how many times can we avoid falling off of the precipice? It is a dangerous pattern. To tempt fate for the narcissistic purpose of self-fulfillment over the greater goal of communal benefit is a losing proposition. One of these days, it just might result in not a shove over the edge of values and oaths, but all it might take would be a gentle push.
It is time for us to not take any more chances. Let the new year be yet another opportunity to re-affirm our ideals, smothered in our resiliency, to eventually stand up and do the right thing for the right reasons. The year 2011 might have finished where it started, but significant strides were made over the last year. Despite our questionable behaviors, U.S. Treasury notes still were scooped up by other countries, as if to reinforce the true meaning and strength of the phrase “the full faith and credit ” of the U.S. government. We still have “it”, and other countries want “it.” But we must try harder to fill that coffer with justice, honesty and hard work. Our confidence in ourselves and the confidence that the world holds in our nation must be backed up with worthy, pertinent actions. So even better, we can use the artifice of the first day of the new year to try even harder in 2012: