Happy New Year — We Made It!

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Georgetowner staffers Aidah Fontenot, Robert Devaney, Richard Selden, Sonya Bernhardt, Gary Tischler and Charlene Louis jump for joy that The Georgetowner turned 64 in 2018 and wish all the best in 2019. Photo by Patrick G. Ryan.

As we write—or try to write—about the future and things to look forward to in 2019 as well as things to look back to what is really an unfinished year, it’s hard to get going.

We mean, folks, this remains 2018, even if 2019, pink as a puppy, arrives on time and on schedule at various time zones around the world.

We are still—as of this very minute—trapped in the sticky goo of the government shutdown (partial, but oh so awesome) of 2018.

Come to think about it: 2019 should not be allowed to begin until the shutdown is lifted, preferably in a way that both parties—Republicans and Democrats, or have it his way, Donald Trump and the Democrats, in a way that neither party will be forced to admit defeat, or be forced to bow as if the other party were a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family or the British royals for that matter.

In any case, the shutdown, especially as it makes itself felt in our daily lives, is a drag on the body politic, especially in Washington where its presence is ongoing right in front of our daily routines.

The zoo lights are off.  The pandas, we hope, are being fed. The president and the first lady, we presume, are all alone in the White House, waiting for the Democrats to come knocking on the door with a belated Christmas gift of a border wall, with a ribbon around it, but no instructions on how to make it or operate it. It shall be a Zen-like gift, a wall but not a wall, a win but not a win, which many can applaud—“We win”—while letting Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter sneer.

Still, a wall would be a wall, even if it looks like a fence and costs less than five billion dollars. Then, we presume, since Trump has claimed ownership of both the wall and the shutdown, it will be over, finish, done, no more talk of walls, on the border or on the Wizards.

Now that we’ve solved that problem—see how easy it was—we can move on to the future with zest and exhilaration and look backwards with—oh—nostalgia and bid a last, fond farewell to generals Kelly and Mattis—and embrace with curiosity and affection their replacements, once we remember their names.

Here is a fact that we can look forward too, because it’s true. Twenty nineteen is not an election year, yes, it’s not, which is both a positive and a negative. As most things are these days, it’s not quite true, given that at least four or five, who’s counting, Democrats, have already announced or are about to announced any minute their intentions to run for president, possibly even the new congress person from the Bronx, who, in terms of press coverage, is almost even with a weekly output of the Trump twitter machine.

We can sit and remember  the good things of 2018—wait, don’t get up yet. There were some: “Hamilton” for one; “Hamilton” for two. Me too, or better yet, we too, which is not a movement yet, but has potential.

But first: Let’s find a way to shut down the shutdown.

And, once we get our creative juices flowing, we shall view the world anew, while we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

Let’s look at our neighbors—at the bank, in the grocery line, at NFL games, on a newscast, in church, out on the street, in a police car, someone with an accent, young, wearing a hoody, being a little loud, somebody who looked like you once did—with curiosity, kindness, interest and a willingness to help, if need be, and share . . . just because. Let’s put a welcome mat on our face, not a question mark.

If you see something—some act of kindness, a celebratory dance, a kiss freely given, a moment of silence shared—say something about it.

If you hear what is a lie from an elected official or their representative, from top to bottom, say it’s a lie, not a euphemism for a lie.

If we identify as a person who loves his or her country, say you’re an American. But don’t tell others that they’re not.

In 2018, we didn’t see or hear much of that. Let’s make sure we pump up the volume of kindness, not an easy thing to do, since it offers no transactional rewards. In other words, let’s MAKA — let’s Make America Kind Again.

Have a healthy, prosperous and happy new year!

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