On the EDge: Make the most of your do-over

Photo by Ben Schonewille / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION – I was hoping to find something profound, something deep, something meaningful, possibly something positive to say as we close the books on 2016.

The only thing I can think of is, with apologies to The Grateful Dead, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

As years go, 2016 was a bedeviling mix, a healthy serving of grief topped with a spoonful of anguish and a plateful of surprise.

We lost some incredibly talented people in 2016, people who touched us in so many ways.

There were the musicians, from Glenn Frey and David Bowie to Prince and Leonard Cohen; the sports heroes from Muhammad Ali to Arnold Palmer; the actors, from Gene Wilder to Alan Rickman; the folk heroes from John Glenn to Fidel Castro.

It was so brutal that perhaps Time magazine’s Person of The Year should have been The Grim Reaper. Instead, the honor went to the unlikeliest of candidates who proved he wasn’t bluffing when he announced his improbable candidacy.

In the beginning, many thought the Donald Trump run was a joke, a ruse to gain a larger standing in the public eye. Next thing we knew, he was knee deep in one of the most brutal presidential races in history, only to emerge as a nondecisive winner, his opponent racking up 3 million more popular votes, but not enough in the Electoral College, to do the job.

How this will play out when he takes the oath of office in a few short weeks is anybody’s guess. We’ll have to tune in to Twitter and see how it goes.

It was also the year of unsocial media taking over the cyberwaves once occupied by happy Facebookers who, during happier times, seemed content with sharing pictures of their cute kitties, rambunctious puppies and darling children and telling us all what they had for lunch. We soon found out that when it came to tackling topics of substance they couldn’t handle it.

When they did decide to get political, an uncivil war broke out in the Twittersphere and Facebook pages that was unparalleled in anger and vitriol.

It got ugly and there are still deep scars etched into the psyche of many users who found that they actually could spend entire days exchanging insults with people they had never met face-to-face and would never dare speak to in all caps and exclamation points as they do on Mark Zuckenberg’s monster.

It was the year fake news took hold, with phony news sites springing up to poison our hearts and minds and substantiate the grossest of lies and shred any iota of decency left in our souls.

(Column continues below.)

I hope we have learned something from all of this.

I hope we have learned, from the many shocking deaths, that life is fragile, a precious thing, a fleeting moment in time and space and that we should find a way to love and respect people while they are still among us instead of showering our affection in blubbering obituaries strewn with guilt and sorrow. By then, folks, it’s too damn late.

I hope we have learned, from the jaw-dropping, mind-numbing political campaign we just endured, that we should not take anything for granted, that we should not shrug off the flavor of the day because we just might be dining on a steady diet of such for the next four years. Egos are too fragile to sling through even the vague beginnings of such endeavors only for the sake of more time in the spotlight. Look, there are still those, I am sure, who are not yet convinced that Trump, from the beginning, was in it to win it.

Most of all, I hope we have learned that lost civility is, perhaps, humankind’s greatest sin.

We have done unto others egregious inflictions of hate and anger.

If we were little kids, we’d have been sent to bed without our supper, had our privileges taken away for at least a month and forced to apologize for our rude, insensitive behavior.

But, we aren’t kids.

We’re adults, even though not all of us embrace our adulthood or the responsibilities it incurs.

We treat each other with suspicion, dread, a sense of superiority – earned or not – and look down, without reason, on those who dare speak in a different tongue, come from a different culture or worship a different deity. Heaven forbid we differ on politics.

But, we get a do-over in a few days.

We get a fresh year of months, weeks, days, minutes and hours to try to make it right again, to try to find a humanity lying wounded in the intensive care unit.

I’m disappointed in how we turned out in 2016, saddened by the hurt we have inflicted upon each other, the restrictions we have tried to place upon others while insisting we have the floor to speak and spew our screed.

I guarantee the United States of 2016 is not the nation our Founding Fathers had in mind.

So I’m hoping the greatest gift of the season is one of patience, understanding, compassion, and, most of all, civility.

I’m kind of tired of avoiding conversation with some people because of their knee-jerk reactions and refusal to listen or to explore what somebody else is saying or believes.

Just watch the comments here and on the Facebook page.

There will be those who will claim this is a diatribe against Trump, Republicans, truth, justice and the American way.

It is not.

It is a plea for us to simply stand in front of the mirror, look ourselves in the eye and ask that person we see who they really are, what they really believe, and if they are being civil, caring, sensitive human beings. Are you satisfied with yourself?

It doesn’t matter if you voted for Trump, Hillary Clinton or Mickey Mouse. Heck, it doesn’t even matter if you even voted, belong to a political party or religious organization.

All that matters is what lies behind those eyes see in the mirror.

If you are satisfied, good for you.

But if there are any doubts, well, perhaps you are really in need of the do-over that 2017 promises.

My sincerest wish is for us all to have a happy, prosperous and healthy new year filled with love and light.

For everybody.

And, perhaps, to put our do-over to good use.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela


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  • Ron December 27, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Anyone who believes Fidel Castro was a “folk hero”, is delusional, and should make Mexico his permanent home.

  • Henry December 27, 2016 at 9:31 am

    “Folk hero” Fidel Castro? RME. Did you also mourn the deaths of Pol Pot and Hugo Chavez?

  • dogmatic December 27, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Eddy boy, you should be buried up to your neck and stoned to death.

  • Curtis December 27, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Ed —
    I don’t know about you, but in speaking of the nastiness of Facebookers it’s not all of what “they” did but a lot about of what “we” did.

  • r2d2 December 27, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Fidel Castro did do his part to cut down the population of the earth. Looks like Ed is in morning. This has been a real bad year, but my money is on the next 4 years being a lot better. Look at bright side we got rid of butch of Fidel Castro wannabes that ruled by executive order. I don’t agree with a do over. It’s more like a new beginning.

  • Ladyk December 27, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Wow… now I understand why you say some of the things you do, you are still thumping around with the GD. Good grief don’t you think it is time to grow out of that stage? I truly hope that some of what you say comes true. I hope people can finally understand what really matters in life. I guess we will see what your collums look like after the first of the year and see if you actually believe what you say. You have tremendous power to do good, or keep doing what you have been doing.

  • commonsense December 27, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    The story of 2016 politics is not Trump. The Democrats have been losing Senate seats, Congressional seats, Governorships and state legislatures rather dramatically since Obama was elected in 2008. Democrats hold fewer national and state positions than any time since 1940.
    This is shocking when you consider most Blacks, welfare recipients, LGBT, Latinos and non-productive intellectuals vote Democrat. It means that the vast majority of white, working, tax paying American men and women now vote Republican and they are going to take back their Country. They are tired of the freak show that is liberal identity politics. They just can’t relate to Al Sharpton, Kylie Jenner, Michael Moore, Rosie O’donnell and guys going into girls bathrooms.

    • .... December 28, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Wow what a long drawn out comment about nothing. we already know all that. old news !

      • commonsense December 28, 2016 at 5:39 pm

        Apparently not. Dems still whining about Trump. Look inward my liberal friends.

        • Rainbow Dash December 29, 2016 at 12:51 pm

          For a man who calls himself “commonsense” you sure are lacking in that department. Of course we are. Were not mad because Trump won though. No, we’re mad about the fact that, thanks to an antiquated law, 538 people can override the decision made by THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS!

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