Monday, January 2, 2012

THE NEW YEAR

  
     Although most of us have already ushered in the new year, perhaps celebrated, maybe made resolutions, felt as if we had a fresh start and wondered where 2011 went, another season is about to come soon, the Chinese lunar new year, celebrated on Jan. 23 as the most auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac struts its stuff.
Amidst end-of-the-world Mayan and other predictions for late in 2012, the Year of the Dragon is traditionally associated with new beginnings and good fortune.
That’s the sort of balance Oliver Wendell Holmes, the great U.S. Supreme Court justice, would have favored in his persistent optimism.
So, what will 2012 be like, tempering any astrological or other predictions with the obvious: whatever the omens portend, you are the real master of your fate?
  • America will have its next presidential election, and where that will lead could cause even an optimist to tear hair out, considering the undeniable fact that just as soon as the winning campaigner leaves the stump and has his (her?) last roast beef dinner with the common folk in the village social hall, the big door closes at the White House and the new leader of the free world doesn’t see real people ever again, at least while in office. Only the scripted will have the president’s ear. Elected senators and congressmen shut their own big doors. Maybe the Year of the Dragon will offer enough fire breathing to burn the locks of all these blocked passages and let Joe and Sue Citizen come visit a spell and be heard.
  • Most likely, crazy weather will cause trouble, as has been nature’s habit of late (or is it humankind’s?). Solar flare-ups won’t help, especially in communication disruption at a time when there is almost no discourse without electronics. (Isn’t it odd that with a greater ability to communicate, we seem to hear each other less?)
  • The world’s banks, said to be sitting on some $17 trillion, may finally get off their duff and use the money they gained through no hard work of their own to actually put people to work. So far in history, the world has not progressed without investment.
  • Reality shows may -- deservedly -- lose their appeal when common sense in people awakens them to the fact that they have been sitting in the modern Roman Colosseum yelling for blood as victims sacrifice one another. 
  • Twitter Tweets, Facebook blurbs, phone texting and anonymous postings to online material may at long last find melody, rhythm and sense, some structure that allows understanding beyond pig-Latin shorthand, awful grammar and incomplete thought.
  • Organized religion and atheists, too, may realize that there can be no exclusive god or theology since we are all born as we are, into whatever belief. As a result, we are held harmless for such fate and its consequences except when we do no good, or even if we fail to do good. In short, if any god is the cat’s pajamas, it’s because he (she?) is good. Do good and you are “religious,” even as an atheist. 
Actually, good is an ultimate act of faith in this ride on earth, and that’s where I leave this piece in a year that some predict as half empty while others like the Chinese see half full. If we blow up or end up better off on December 31, 2012, it’s the flowers left on our path that will make us smile and prove our worth, however long the earth lasts.

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