OPINION – There was more, much more, to 2013 than Miley Cyrus twerking on a music awards show.
We saw the insanity of a terror attack on innocent people at the Boston Marathon; were simultaneously titillated and horrified by the trial of an Arizona woman who killed her boyfriend; and witnessed a petty, vicious battle in Washington, D.C. that emerged from the alley fight that erupted over the Affordable Care Act and resulted in a shutdown of the federal government.
In Utah, there was the senseless defacing of ancient rock formations in Goblin Valley, the embarrassing scandal in the attorney general’s office, and historic court rulings on polygamy and same-sex marriage.
Locally, there was a nasty beef centered on the animal shelter, one on allegations of code enforcement violations, and, of course, the changing of the guard as St. George welcomes its first new mayor in 20 years.
As a nation, we got all worked up about a royal birth, but somehow forgot about the poor, hungry babies born on our shores who were brought into this world without advantage.
The table is set now, however, for 2014, a new year with new hope, new promise, new dreams.
The older I get, the more sentimental I become at the transition from one year to another. January is cold, dreary, and dank, not an easy time to grasp onto a new beginning. I would much rather that the new year would begin during the spring, when life and the heart are renewed, rejuvenated, and refueled.
We all have this tendency to reflect at the closing of the year, to evaluate what we accomplished, what we failed to accomplish, and assess where we go from here because, after all, we get a fresh set of days to work with, so why not?
The other half of my brain, though, reminds me to not put too much stock in all that evaluation, that there are, as we all know, influences that enter the picture and upset our best-laid plans. Besides, I’m not much for wallowing, although a good wallow now and then is good just to let it all go. Too much, however, is bad for the soul, tough on the brain, and a waste of time.
And, that business of New Year’s resolutions?
Forget them. Why set yourself up for disappointment? Sure, set some goals, but be realistic and, if suddenly, the path is littered with obstructions, take it in stride, remove or leap over those obstructions and just get on with it.
What can I do without in 2014?
Bullies, greed, arrogance, bigotry, hatred, and anger have no place in my 2014. I have no feel for thugs, thieves, or fools who try to mask their inner ugliness. They can all take a hike.
I can do without all of the divisiveness that has taken place. I have never seen this nation so polarized, not even during the tumult that was the 1960s when the hippies and the straights squared off at each other in a nasty generational clash.
Now, we find ourselves dangling over a dangerous precipice sheared by political machines that are fueled by special interest groups whose only concern is lining their pockets. This isn’t one-dimensional by any means, either, as Democrats and Republicans share the blame for the decline of civility as we once knew it. This doesn’t mean we should water it all down and make dumb compromises that satisfy nobody. We should remain passionate, persuasive, committed to that which we believe is right and just. But, we should also understand that there are lines we should not cross and respect that should be extended to those in opposition – something we should also expect and demand in return.
What can we use more of in 2014?
How about some compassion, understanding, open-mindedness, the understanding that a majority should rule but not to the detriment of those in the minority, a little peace, and a lot of love for starters?
Notice I didn’t mention tolerance. It’s a word I abhor because it implies that there are people of superior standing, more important, more significant who are offering tolerance to those they consider beneath them. It is patronizing, insulting, and egotistical. The majority is not always right, you know, and the minority is not always wrong. It’s simply a numbers game, to be honest, that often results in unfair standards and oppression. We are here to serve the needs of all, not just those we agree with because of race, creed, or political affiliation.
We’re in this together, friends, like it or not, and the sooner we realize that, the better off we’ll all be.
To exclude means to lose a little of yourself, because the day will come, I guarantee, when you find yourself on the short end and you will not like it.
So my wish, as we stand on the threshold of 2014, is for some calm, some understanding, some sense of belonging in this global community we call home.
I wish us all warmth, comfort, solace; equality for every man, woman and child; and for us to reattach ourselves to the humanity that was once a part of our fabric.
I wish us success, health, and joy, plus the humility to accept it all with genuine gratitude and grace so we can live rather than simply exist.
But, most of all, I wish us peace and love, which is the best I have to offer.
No bad days!
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.