A new page in my Day-Timer.
It happens every year at this time. The weather is cool and the days are short. I close last years appointment book, all dirty and page corners curled, and open a brand new book clean and smooth. Somehow this is the moment that I realize the passage of time and the newness of life. Some memories from the last year are receding, perhaps to never reappear while I begin a journey on a new road. I think I know where I am going, as I judge what my long life experience dictates, but I never really do. I can set goals, work towards them, save money or build foundations, but the end of the year will reveal that life went its own way and my wishes were only a single contributor to the chain of events that took place.
What should be the main concerns in the coming year, I ask myself. In my judgment, we should devote most efforts to improving justice and reducing fears. Huge goals, amongst many other critical objectives, but we will do what we try the hardest to do. We are humans, and we routinely do the impossible.
Justice often is greatly affected by fear or by people facing fear and taking the right actions. First, we must realize the very real danger of “group think” that we are all subject to. We are scared of making our own decisions, just in case we are wrong, so we join a group, being political, religious, economic, professional or whatever is popular at the time and we let the group dictate our opinions, affiliations, conversations and all else. I can say this since that was my prime directive most of my life.
“ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Said Franklin D. Roosevelt. Here is a statement by a real true leader, not just of the American people but the world. During his time, because he didn’t give in to fear and made some real social changes, America was great. Canada closely followed suit. FDR didn’t rule by fear. Instead, he gave the people a dream of how to achieve prosperity, and by following it, they did. From his time to a third of a century ago, America, including Canada, was great. I saw it and lived in it.
FDR took office during the Great Depression, fought the Second World War, all while being confined to a wheelchair. He created the Middle Class, caused a balance of power between “love” and “selfishness” and left his fourth term in office knowing that his country will be the leader of the new world, which it was. The fear at that time was fear of Communism on the one side and Fascism on the other. The brave invalid FDR, found a way. He made as many people as possible happy, and the West prospered. The majority of people lived in comfort, security, and satisfactory conditions, but a small minority of superachievers found themselves under too much restriction.
While the generation who fought wars and lived through the depression were disappearing a new generation became powerful. We see the Korean war fought to a standstill, the Vietnam war fought and lost, and the rise of power of financial institutions, weapons industries and above all oil becoming king. In 1989 the new power hired an actor (Ronald Reagan, who used to be a Union organizer) hired to break the FDR New Deal, and he does. Instead of justice and equality, we got Trickle Down that doesn’t work. A few prosper and most diminish. Under Trickle Down all power concentrates in few hands, and manufactured false fears keep people in line.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office in 1945 America was at its best, and was home to the happiest people in the world, when the sun rose on the first days of the new millennium a different world greeted humankind. Gone were the one breadwinner suburban families, infrastructure was crumbling, unemployment loomed, and most people were in debt like never before. Public services were privatized, and the main loss was the feeling of security that working people used to have. Jobs were leaving faster than being created, and education suffered.
The effectiveness of fear is diminished by knowledge. Education is becoming rare for average people as fear is used to manipulate political opinions. Now we have next door a president wanting to declare immigration, a practice that has been going on forever, as a national emergency, even while it is only a fraction of what it used to be. The great USA is paralyzed since the “golfing President” wants a wall to stop migrants. Fear of those poor workers is keeping him in power.
We humans are enslaved by imaginary fears and when it enters our group think we are left as helpless victims. We should make 2019 the year in which all people will say “be not afraid” instead of “drive safe,” or “safe journey” or any other statements that make people always afraid. We should remind people to think for themselves and avoid “group think.”
I had enough of political groups, religious organizations, or corporations with big marketing budgets dictating what I should think and scaring me into submission. I had enough with people telling me to make them rich or they will harm the economy and hurt all the people around me. In 2019 I am going to look at the facts and do what's good for me and those like me. This new white page in front of me has only one word written by my hand. HOPE.