Monday, December 31, 2012

for a better new year

Well, we made it to the end of the year...no apocalypse yet. We all look forward to the new year with a mix of anticipation and dread sometimes. We remember the good years and the bad years, and wonder which one this will be. Usually they are a mix of good and bad, successes and failures. But just like each day, each year is an opportunity for growth and progress. There are plenty of things we can't control but there are things we can and should do. How about we make a point of trying to be better on one thing like  being a positive influence on others?
      One thing that stood out in this past election year was the nastiness of the rhetoric. This isn't anything new, but still it bugged me. No, it saddened me. There are many people, including candidates, who couldn't just differ... they had to bicker. They couldn't just say they disagreed with someone else's position, they had to label it as  destructive or un-American... or even evil. They had to malign the character of an opponent, question their morals, attack their family, etc.
      For example, recently Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caught the flu and became dehydrated, then fell and suffered a concussion -- something that is stressful and dangerous for anyone, but more so for someone who is in her 60's. Rather than express concern for her welfare and recovery, which would be the decent thing to do, many commentators questioned the report of her illness and asserted that she was using it as a ruse to get out of testifying  about her department's handling of an international incident (Benghazi). Besides the question of whether  Clinton would duck a controversy (I think it unlikely), there is the question of why people are so quick to assume the worst about someone and refuse to extend kindness? And considering that she now is being treated in the hospital for a blood clot near her brain, there are a number of vocal people out there who need to offer a sincere apology... it is common decency.
      In contrast, when former President George H.W. Bush went into the hospital with a high fever (high enough to necessitate an  ICU stay), there were many extensions of well wishes for his health, including many from those who didn't share his politics. I read one article where the comments were very encouraging (with the exception of one or two negative comments). That is how it should be.
       I guess it is part in how we were raised. My mom's favorite phrase was "accentuate the positive". I was raised to believe the best and expect the best of people. If they behaved badly then they got criticism, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt, especially in matters of health. I do not like to see anyone suffer, regardless of their politics. 
      What do you say? Can we make this a year of doing our best to try and make others' lives better...Even if it is just a kind word, a hello, a thank you. We can't control the future, but we can infuse our surroundings with the light of our smiles and the warmth of our hugs. Thanks, and a Happy New year to everyone. May it be the best one ever!


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