Happy New Year!
It's hard to believe another year has passed. I'll bet most of us are thinking about 2012 and what the past year brought into our lives - good or bad, personal or worldwide. I can tell you I'm hoping 2013 will be better for everyone.
In the United States, we've seen unthinkable tragedies, most recently the shootings in Newtown and Webster, and natural disasters. It will be another year or more before many of superstorm Sandy's victims can put their lives back together. I hurt for them.
Politically, we've seen another round of elections, but little has changed. Radical ideologues have prevented our country from coming together to compromise on things as simple as helping out the middle class and ensuring that the elderly continue to have a quality Medicare program - one in which doctors are willing to participate. I'll bet you old style town halls could have figured this out by now, but the lights are mostly off on Capitol Hill. As I prepare for a night's sleep, I know we are diving off the so-called fiscal cliff. Why?
So many people don't have jobs. There are reasons for some (e.g., skills that are no longer needed, B.A.'s in philosophy), but not all. Why? I think the dysfunctional House and Senate create anxiety for American businesses. They can't tell which end is up, so they hold back on spending. I can't say 2012 has been a good year for the United States.
We lost so many historic figures in 2012. Whitney Houston, Mike Wallace, Maurice Sendak, Nora Ephron, Sally Ride, Neil Armstrong, Andy Williams, Jack Klugman, Larry Hagman, Don Cornelius, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Dick Clark...I could keep going. Many of them left us way too early, making their loss even more heartbreaking. Will New Year's Eve ever be the same without Dick Clark?
I hope the United States and NATO pull out of Afghanistan in 2013. We aren't wanted there, and centuries have shown that our continued presence, and loss of good men and women, won't change a thing. There will be no sustainable economic, political, or human rights changes in that country, so why bother to stay to "train" people who are killing their trainers? Sorry, I realize I'm getting political, but I want our military men, women, and dogs to come home. Now there's Syria. Why don't the Arab states of the Middle East go try to fix that civil war? Why are we and our allies always called to intervene? The brutality of the current regime has been hard to watch, but watch we must.
At least it's been a good year for our favorite royals, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Will and Kate). We are as thrilled as our friends in Great Britain that a royal baby is on the way. I wish Kate well and hope the rest of her pregnancy will be smoother than the early months. I think that news, the Queen's diamond jubilee, and the Olympics were good for our closest ally.
Fortunately, we misinterpreted the Mayans, and we're looking forward to 2013. I'm wising for a great year from personal perspective. I'd like to lose my back and hip pain and find a new, fun consulting job. The one I had ended this month with the end of a contract. I want Mom, Charlie, and Savannah to be well and enjoy their lives. Do you think it would be greedy to want to win the lottery?
There's more, of course - bigger hopes that I fear won't be realized in a year. I'd like to live in an era when animal abuse becomes a thing of the past, everyone starts to care about our environment and plays an active role in saving the Earth. Human rights abuses become a thing of the past, peace reins, and a cycle of prosperity overtakes the world. I'd also love to see a few political leaders emerge - real, inspirational leaders. You have to have hope.
What about you? Care to join me in musing on 2012 and 2013?