A New Year
2016 is officially in the books and we are starting a brand new year. I must admit that I am generally ready to see the old year end and am eager for a fresh start. This year was no exception. But, as eager as I am to move on, there are a few things that we should keep in mind as we forge into a new year, faced with new mountains to climb and new valleys to weather.
If 2016 taught us nothing, it should have been clear to anyone paying attention that people are tired of norm. Joe Public is looking for a new normal that includes a little light at the end of the tunnel. Politicians should be fore warned, the people want something for their money and they want it yesterday. It is not enough to promise prosperity, there needs to be some reward for our time and money. Most people are consigned to the fact that they cannot escape death and taxes. But, if the government is collecting our hard earned money, then we had better see the benefit of our sweat stained dollars.
We have to be real about the problems that we face and ask for just exactly what we want and need. The issues that are facing the National, State and Local government are not the same and we do not expect a cookie cutter answer for a complex question. Nationally, the government spends and spends, with no apparent regard to just who is paying the bill. They need to tap the breaks, put the pen down and step away from the checkbook. On the State level, our Representatives need to be mindful that sometimes a conservative agenda can be so tight that it is more like a noose than good, productive policy. There are places that I just don’t want any politician and they include my doctor’s office, my bank account and my bedroom. Those are places for personal decision making, not policy. On the other hand, our Local Representatives are the flip side of the federal coin. Fiscally sound is responsible but they often squeeze the nickle so hard that risk negatively impacting the lives of the folks that are paying the tab. It has become a lot like picking up the check at an expensive, five star restaurant and going home hungry. If we are going to pay for it, we want something to show for our trouble. Don’t cut our services to cushion the government’s bank account. It is true that there are wants and then there are needs. It is also true that we, the tax payers (all the tax payers not just the ones that complain)are paying for both. There is nothing wrong with a few comforts for the folks that pick up the tab and charitable organizations are some of what makes life functional for many demographics. Keep us safe, healthy and reasonably comfortable. Burying our hard earned money in the Courthouse lawn is the easy way out. It is much more difficult to move us forward than it is to always cry “cut”.
As for me, I generally have a no resolution policy. After all, life is difficult without setting myself up for a mid January failure. This year, though, I noticed something and it made me stop and take stock of how I spend my time. As I was taking down our family Christmas Tree the day after Christmas (it was becoming a fire hazard) I realized that this is the first family Christmas Tree that I didn’t get to know. Usually, I eagerly await the day that it goes up in the living room. I look at each ornament that has been collected over the years, reliving Christmas past. Over the course of the season, I generally spend much time gazing at decorations but this year I didn’t even put a bow on my wreath. My son, after several days of looking at an unadorned tree, took it upon himself to deck the halls, so to speak. This year’s tree was the only one that I didn’t take the time to know. As I was stripping its brittle branches, I realized what a sad commentary it was on my priorities. So, this year, while I will maintain my view from the cheap seats, I will also be enjoying the view from some new vantage points and maybe a few familiar ones. I resolve that I will find more time for the other things that make my world turn and next Christmas I will have a personal relationship with my Christmas Tree. Perhaps this year’s crinkly, brittle little bunch of branches was more than just a decoration. Perhaps it was the gift.
Happy New Year from my family to yours! We wish you Health, Happiness and an abundance of blessings for a wonderful 2017!!!