Musing on the New Year
A year has ended; another one has begun. This has been one
better Holiday seasons of the last few. I took matters into
own hands and made the Holidays mine.
It is the time for New Year's Resolutions; I haven't given
thought to resolutions for the coming year - I've been too
keeping the commitments I made in December for January.
As I walked tonight from the train to the car, the snow snapped
under my feet and stars glistened coldly above. It was a serene
scene. Far away from my serene scene, the post election chaos
Kenya reverberates while Iraq actually seems slightly improved
deaths are down.
We human beings are capable of both the most wonderful and
terrible actions. St. Francis on one hand; Mussolini on the
It is one of the most profound dichotomies we experience and
live with the effects of these dichotomies every day. On one
you have Al Qaeda; on another you have the Red Crescent. You
good men and women and then you have the others who, in some
frenzy, burned fifty of their fellow men alive while they
sanctuary in a church in some remote Kenyan village because
were on the wrong political side. While I don't want to, I
accept this about being human. However, along with this dichotomy
in our very essence, we have other parts to our nature. We
On-line at nytimes.com, I listened to a reporter talk about
it's like to be following a candidate in Iowa. It's like being
the front line of democracy, he said. As I write this, the
Caucuses are being held. The future is being created. The
real decisions of Campaign 2008 are being made. After reading
about the Caucus process in Iowa, I am impressed. People take
politics seriously there. They go out and see and listen to
candidates in person. That's something I have never done.
will brave the cold and snow tonight to participate in this
interesting process. Iowans may well come out in record numbers
attend. I haven't been very participatory beyond writing letters
and checks. But there is a difference in seeing someone in
than on television; in debating my peers in a situation that
result in change.
A good friend of mine, Dawn, has gone out to Iowa to participate
in the last days of Hillary's fight to win there. I sent her
e-mail: you are on the front line of democracy; I am proud
She wrote back that she was there arm in arm with a mutual
friend. It's been a long time since I have spent any time
there on the front line of democracy. It may be time get back
By the time you read this, decisions will have been made.
be on to New Hampshire and then Florida and then Michigan
then... Some, if not all, of the lower tier of candidates
fall away. They will stagger with exhaustion, resulting in
unfortunate candidacy ending moments: Howard Dean in Iowa,
in New Hampshire.
I took the Holidays into my own hands and made them into
special. Perhaps I should put that much effort into making
something special of the world in which I live. The barbarians
be at the gates. If they are, we need every man and woman
front lines of democracy. It is a fragile thing, democracy.
Historically, it has never lasted long. We have done a good
of keeping ours alive. Let's see if we can do it for awhile
longer. Let's see if we can't be better and surrender to the
in our heart rather than the Satan in our soul. Let us move
the next level, which is what we must do.
Once in college I remember reading an Old Testament passage.
only recall one part of the passage: sleepers awake! It seems
apt for us today. It is time for us sleepers to awake.