Friday, December 31, 2010
Auld Lang Syne So Quickly
Tomorrow feels like it should be five months away rather than mere hours. I'm not ready for a new year! So much happened in 2010 that I'm still trying to come to grips with it all. Snow was a huge feature here, in the nation's capital. Snowmageddon was an apt name because the sky seemed to keep falling on us week after week! There simply was no respite. Despite that, some good came with the blizzards. People got out and actually communicated with each other -- verbally and snowbally. There was such a festive atmosphere as people had snow stuffed down their pants and shirts. Such gaiety! Uh, except for the cop who didn't take kindly to his personal SUV being pummeled with snow balls. There really wasn't any need to draw a gun, but I guess when you're out-numbered, edginess is to be expected. Sadness and disbelief also slipped into our lives. A lot of extraordinary people died during the past twelve months. Losing Lena Horne was unbelievable. She seemed so ageless and immortal. Thank goodness we still can listen to her magnificent singing and watch her movie performances. Though he was old enough to be my father, I've had a life-long crush on actor John Forsyth. Not only was he incredibly handsome and elegant, but he was an admirable man who managed a fairly regular life in the crazy world of Hollywood. Elizabeth Edwards' passing was painful because she had been so vital and uncomplaining. Breast cancer would have been enough to derail many women, but her husband's bad behavior had to have felt like the last straw. Her enduring dignity and devotion to her children will outshine anything John does for the rest of his life. I don't even want to think about the never-ending disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Reverberations from that disgraceful and preventable event will continue for years as will the pain felt by the families and friends of those killed. The continuing ecological damage may never be completely realized and the lives of those who worked and lived on the Gulf are forever changed. Shame on B.P.! Natural and worse, man made, disasters crippled millions around the world and started me thinking about how human activity is responsible for much of the suffering. We're pretty cavalier about drilling deep into the Earth for coal, oil, gold and other "commodities." Is anyone thinking about the huge toll this is taking on Planet Earth, herself? And how about the humans who must go down into those deep holes? As we enter a new year and decade, I hope and pray that we learn from mistakes made during the last decade. Hope is a good thing but it cannot be allowed to overrule action. We cannot hope ourselves into breathing cleaner air, drinking purer water. Improving standards in education, health care and lifting people out of poverty will require hard work, sincerity, realism and sacrifice. The best I can do is hope that Congress quits the political bickering to work out practical solutions. Sadly and unfairly, hoping is the best I can do. The incoming House leadership has already decided to strip the District's non-voting delegate of her committee voting rights. At that point, the over 1/2 million District residents (local and federal tax-paying American citizens) will be completely muzzled and silenced. So much for hope . . .