Lots of Year-End Reflection
Few of us leave this past turbulent year without considerable reflection, no matter what our politics or personal ideology. What a disconcerting roller coaster! It has brought out the worst in many of us, but could be the catalyst for resurrecting our best. Piglet is normally a kind and gentle little animal being, but even it gets pushed to its limits. I’m hopeful, but first have to vent a bit. I initiated this commentary almost two years ago, promising myself that I would be constructive and thoughtful, not the all too prevalent social media ranter who turns off a majority of readers. I’ve done pretty well at honoring that intent, though the outrageous President and politics have occasionally prompted my dark side response.
These observations will represent my commitment to change my focus and style for this New Year. But first, I have to attempt a cathartic cleansing of some of my bad so I can make room for my better. I’m disappointed that we find ourselves in the midst of a shutdown of an ineffective government, led by an incompetent President, enabled by most of us through fault or default. I’m sad that so many citizens of all walks of life join me in the wasted, but instructive energy of stress, dysfunction, anger and communal paranoia that typifies too much of our lives. I’ve got to mention the Bad and Ugly, so I can close with the Good.
First, My Lesson From Gov. Ann Richards…Regarding “Chi”
When my friend Gov. Ann was diagnosed with cancer, she realized she’d need to address healthy lifestyle changes to maximize her quality of life. She incorporated yoga and meditation into her health regimen and became aware of the concept of “chi,” the positive energy life flow in Chinese medicine. She started cutting short rambling phone calls and frustrating personal encounters by declaring, “You’re wasting my “chi.” I’ve come to appreciate her experience as I see the personal impact of too much negative energy in my own life. Most all involving my own choices. I’ve made too many choices that waste my “chi.”
And A Lesson From Kerry Awn
My friend and iconic Esther’s Follies comedy improv star, Kerry Awn* used to do a great shtick about “What Makes Me Mad.” He’d rant about all of life’s aggravations du jour that had him upset. We can all empathize, while some of us do a better job than others at airing our grievances publicly. Though most of us would like to. I’d like to. How about these for starters?
—I’m mad that too many of us (certainly me included) did not see the deteriorating relationships of education, economic opportunity (exporting our better jobs) and unresponsive government that led to the voter revolt that enabled Trumpenstein.
—I’m mad that WE THE PEOPLE didn’t realize that our main culprit has been an incompetent BIPARTISAN Congress over several administrations.
—I’m mad that we let our distrust in our institutions translate to distrust in each other. Through racism, bigotry, misogyny and discrimination in their many forms.
—I’m mad that WE THE PEOPLE have let cowardly political hypocrites like Cornyn, McConnell, Ryan be the enablers of Trump and his arrogant, dangerous incompetence. And in fairness, Biden, Hillary, Pelosi, Sanders, et.al, were not aggressive enough in rallying formidable opposition.
—I’m mad that we Texans have enabled a bunch of Republican yahoo “leaders” to drive Texas further down the list of backwards states relative to education, healthcare and women’s and children’s issues.
—I’m mad that education, economic opportunity, infrastructure, healthcare, immigration, gun regulation, regulatory reform, international diplomacy and adequate care of veterans have been ignored while we allow a focus on open carry, military troops to the border, and the reversal of many positive Obama Administration policies and programs.
—I’m mad that too many family and friends continue to support Trump because of ignorance, willful ignorance, or by simply being uninformed.
—I’m mad that too many folks are hurting due to the lack of responsive governance. And most of us are complicit, due to fault or default. Challenge that premise with your friend in the mirror.
NOTE: *My friend Professor Awn just occasionally plays this role on stage. He and I both want better, and believe there can and must be.
Using The Scrooge Role Model As A Timely Reminder
Took the family to see ZACH Theatre’s rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” A wonderful seasonal reminder of the value extremes of human neglect and human kindness. Scrooge relegates family and self to the pursuit of wealth and is ultimately shamed into personal redemption. We see the vivid contrast of heartless materialism with the delightful and laudable values of compassion, generosity and kindness. We can do our own introspective audit to see where we land on a truly human scale.
My Friend In The Mirror Is Ready To Change
I’ve realized that I’ve been too easily seduced by the desire to chime in on Trump and the outrages of his incompetent Administration and Cabinet. But, while many of you have gotten a kick out of my observations, I’m really not adding much of constructive value to the discourse. And there are many more articulate and knowledgeable pundits and writers with considerably more substance to add to the conversation. I’ll continue to showcase outstanding national political pundits who impress me with their insights.
I enjoy writing, have appreciated your constructive criticism and supportive affirmation. However, at my age, my blood pressure and stress level are not positive beneficiaries of my participation in the national political arguments, where I can’t make much difference. I’m ready to shift my focus locally, where I can support local folks and organizations doing good works, and apply my several decades of community activism to worthy causes and programs that are making a positive difference in people’s lives. In real time. As cheerleader, counsel, patron, hands-on volunteer and admiring spectator.
My writing will be reflective of my continuing to be a work in progress. Curious, optimistic, immature. One who appreciates art, music, theatre, humor, constructive civic engagement and the plight of those who hurt for any reason. I appreciate all of you friends and readers who’ve hung with me so far. I’m excited about a kinder and gentler focus in this New Year. I’m trusting that Mueller will bring some much-needed clarity to spark the quicker resolution of our national political nightmare.
A Closing Mosey New Year’s Wish
From me to you and yours. A successful pursuit of your personal goals. More time with family and friends. Health, Happiness and Peace of Mind. The gentling and inspiration of the arts and culture. My encouragement for you to reconsider your commitment to community building, seeking to be effective, not just busier. That you be blessed in mind, body and spirit by the Gods of Your Understanding. HAPPY NEW YEAR!