January 1st, 2018

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2018 – A New Year? Or Just 2017 (continued)

Monday, January 1st, 2018

COMMENT FROM KATHY: My favorite quote from the holiday season is this: “They thought they could bury us. They did not know we were seeds.” A lot of “they’s” there but helps my activism health.

Picture an eagle flying with only a single wing, or with simply a head…. photo by Dick Bernard, October, 2008, at dedication of gift by Mary Lou Nelson at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Happy New Year.
A good friend, who always prefers anonymity, sent this message, received at 9:25 p.m. Dec. 31:
“Hi Friends,
Enjoy this New Year posting from Cindy Crosby, who teaches prairie ecology, prairie literature near Chicago, with her beautiful photos (my favorite being of course, the cranes in the rainbow…).
One of the comments below this post really appeals to me:
“Happy New Year… May Hope scatter like seeds and take root where restoration is needed.

Amen to her wish.
And to taking breathers for beauty in the year ahead.”

*

New Years Eve I did my rough draft of what I’d like to say in this New Years Day post. This is what I wrote:

“Competition v Cooperation; Individualism v Community.” This is how I see my America, January 1, 2018.

*

There are endless variations to these words, of course.

Saturday afternoon I turned on the TV to find, on the National Geographic channel, a program in progress on the 1980s.

In the few minutes I watched, personalities such as Ronald Reagan, Jane Fonda and Bill Gates were featured. Columnist David Brooks dubbed the 1980s as the decade individualism took root in America. A clip of Reagan showed him uttering the now-very mortal words “Make America Great Again”. Yes, Ronald Reagan.

Where, how, were you in 1980? Here I am, in January, 1980. The only time I’ve ever been briefed in the Cabinet Room off the Oval Office. We were working to reelect Jimmy Carter….

(click to enlarge)

Dick Bernard at the White House, January 16, 1980

Yes, Jimmy Carter was then, and still is a personal hero of mine. Of course, 1980 was not the best of times to be President. Carter had to deal with those hostages in Iran; there was the problem with oil. A few months later, in Detroit, was the first time I ever paid $1.00 for a gallon of gasoline.

We once again learned we were part of, rather than apart from, the world. We seem to continue to have difficulty understanding that we are part of a global society, not an exceptional island in the sea.

*

In 2017 we elected the ultimate individualist, Donald J. Trump, to take charge in the United States of America. Trump would have been 33 when 1980 began. He made “Make America Great Again” his mantra.

As 2017 ended we seem to be on a course in direct opposition to the slogan.

Perhaps as 2018 begins, think about how you see individualism around you, indeed within you.

Individualism is a pretty picture if you are Donald J. Trump. It is the pits, if you’re struggling to find even a tiny place in such a world of winners and, mostly, “losers”, mostly not there because of their own failings.

This huge gap exemplifies 2018 for me. Do we continue the road to national ruin, or do we begin to recover more national sense of community? Every one of us has to be part of this process.

*

We – all of us – will make the New Year “happy”. There is no “passing the buck”. We are a democracy, which gives citizens the complete responsibility of electing those who govern us at all levels. Many of us are learning, finally, that voting for somebody is not a “oh what the hell” exercise, an option to be exercised or not depending on our whim at the moment. Voting has consequences.

2018 is the year of state level races for legislatures and Congress everywhere. Don’t sit these races out. They are crucial. Know who and what you are voting for. There are ten months available to you.

Changing our course is not an impossible task. Here is the 2016 Presidential Election, summarized.

About 60% of eligible voters actually voted in 2016. That means 40% didn’t vote at all, for various reasons.
of those who actually voted:

46.1% 62,984,825 – Donald Trump
48.2% 65,853,516 – Hillary Clinton
4.7% voted for other candidates

Yes, we are a divided country. But change is possible. It simply takes work.

*
POSTNOTES:
My final post for 2017 is here.
Here’s Just Above Sunset’s look at 2017.

COMMENTS:
from Norm: Excellent commentary on the current state of affairs and what we all have to do about changing things going forward.

from Tony: Thank you for your posts. They are very insightful.

from David: This should be a time of optimism and hope. Not so much this year. Here is an opinion piece by Ted Gup, a journalism professor at Emerson College: Fire and Fury001 It was in the Washington Post last August. Keep up the good fight.

from Joyce: I particularly enjoyed the picture of you in front of the White House on Jan. 16, 1980. That was a momentous day for me, as well; I went into labor with Rachel, my oldest, who was born shortly after 1AM on the 17th!

from a long-time friend:

from Marie: Thanks, Dick, for sharing your thoughts and passing on inspiration from others. May we learn compassion, take deep breaths, then move forward in confidence, in community, and with integrity. Blessings of light and hope for the New Year!

from Bob: Dick, I enjoy reading your posts and your eternal,optimistic perspective and outlook. Largest assembly ever for our Solstice ritual. Given the time we titled this one “Community…Come Unity; We Have Light to Share”. Indeed, we must never hesitate to speak out, to offer help, to try to change mindsets. We do have light to share and bringing that light to others who choose to harm others, or the earth, is a lofty but necessary challenge.
May 2018 be your year of more Peace.