Sunday, December 31

On the cusp of the New Year

It's that time of year. Prognosticators try to tell us what to expect in 2018 based on what they think they know from 2017. Yea, well, not counting on their accuracy beyond maybe January 2. There are others reminding us of all the good, bad, horrible, and spectacularly wonderful things that occurred in 2017. Remembrances of those who passed away. Pictures of noteworthy moments. Reflections upon reflections.

It's a natural reflex, I think, to reflect on the past, to think about the future, to imagine something different and better and more vibrant and less painful and more interesting.


We all cling to some essence or element of hope. We all want to believe there is hope that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow will be better.

For many of us, that Hope is assured even though we're not always very good at showing it or living it.

For me, this time of the year is marked by some mundane traditions. I update the 2018 calendar to show birthdays and anniversaries. I go through my online sticky notes and bookmarked articles to see what is still is relevant and try to organize them in a way that I can actually tackle them with some intent. I try to figure out what that intent might be.

Today I'll be drafting the New Year's letter I hope to get out before Epiphany because I am realistic about easily I can be distracted by all of the things I want to read and think about. I'll draft some plans for the first of my 2018 professional blog posts and decide if I want to try to create weekly podcasts, too.

But mostly I'll reflect, think, pray, and read. . .and, practically speaking, stay warm because it is freakin' cold outside (-8F "real feel"). And watch some football because it is New Year's Eve Day.

I'll reach out to some family members and friends. I'll try not to spend too much time thinking about my hip surgery and my frustration that all I'd hoped to get done over the winter break isn't getting done and won't get done trying to acknowledge in the grand scheme of things vacuuming really isn't that important. I will do my best to be grateful for this time for reflection and thinking and reading and writing. I will do my best to take advantage of this time as it will help me mark the start of 2018--no more than a whisper of the turn of a page and the tick of a clock--as something significant and valuable to me and this life I've been given.

I'm not one to ignore the past, but I also don't dwell on it, w
ell, not any more. It's taken me a while to learn how to let go of the past and use it as a stepping stone to growth and change. I'm still working on developing patience and finding balance.

I have no idea what to expect of this afternoon let alone 2018 so I'll let each day run its course. My hope--not, please note, my resolution, is that I will, like Benjamin Franklin, think each morning on what good I can do each day and, each evening, reflect on what good I have done. I shall have to be gentle with myself and non-judgmental, which is not my nature. I shall have to be patient with myself which is, again, not my nature. And I shall have to hope that each day I will remember and hold tight to the fact that God's mercies are new every single morning. If I do nothing else, 2018 will be an amazingly good year.






Monday, December 11

I'm not going to vote for a . . .

I've seen and heard this phrase a few times in articles online and elsewhere. Republicans stating they would never vote for a Democrat as though that was something evil or might cause unrelenting harm or some other unimaginable catastrophe. Ditto the other way: Democrats forswearing the possibility of ever voting for a Republican. Really? How ridiculous.

Granted, I held that point of view when I was younger. I'd vote straight down the party line. Then I got older and a little smarter and started examining what people actually stood for. I read about their messages and I checked on their past work. I realized their campaign promises are really PR statements to put themselves in the best possible light to get elected but that those promises can be hard to keep when faced with the reality of the structure of government and all those other people in government who may have other ideas. Yea, reality bites.

So I have voted for Democrats and I have voted Republicans. As a private citizen I don't have to defend my vote as I might if I represented the party, but I'd hope that ANYONE would vote for whoever is the best person for that constituency.

What I fear is that the challenge for voters remains the quality of the candidates. We saw that in the presidential election. I think many people voted purely along party lines. I think some Republicans who might not have wanted to vote for Trump simply could not vote for Clinton. I get that. Many of my friends and colleagues commented that would, in effect, "hold their noses and vote for one or the other." Not a great commentary of the quality of the candidates.

Alabama seems to face the same situation tomorrow. For Republicans, they can vote Republican and alleged sexual predator or vote for a Democrat, which probably makes them cringe as though it was some horrible disease. Sheesh. Grow up. Is Doug Jones the "better" candidate? The question is who will do the best job for Alabama. Does Moore's record indicate he will do the best job for all of Alabama? What about Jones? Is he interested in serving all of the constituencies in Alabama or he is more interested in his own agenda? My sense is that Moore is about himself and his own agenda.

This election has become about so much more than the Alabama senate slot. It's a referendum on candidate quality, on the way each party tries to manipulate and control the way can vote, and on the way states try to manage the way voters can vote. It is a referendum on how much voters really care and believe their votes matter. After all, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but was slain in the Electoral College. Voters can have a reason to believe that party leadership doesn't care about what their constituents--their employers--think.

Republican or Democrat, in Alabama's senate election or any election, do the right thing and vote the person who will do the best work for all of you. Sure, you want someone who will protect your interests, but what if much of your interests depend on those of others? Think locally, but live globally, especially if that globe is your state.