Happy (?) New Year 2019

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

So begins Charles Dickens’ historical novel about the years before and during the French Revolution, “A Tale of Two Cities“. With 3 shut downs of the Federal Government, a plunging Stock Market,Sad Tear 150 Facebook selling user data, tariffs imposed on our allies, the murder of a U.S. resident and journalist at the hands of a U.S. “ally”, children dying while in U.S. custody, and wildfires destroying large parts of California while the President worries about the Mueller Investigation and his “Border Wall“, our country appears to be a “Tales of Two Americas” … and we haven’t even considered the rest of the World. 2018 was a rough year. Can we hope for a Happy 2019?

We can. There was a lot of good news in 2018. The cost of solar and wind power has dropped by more than 25%. Child poverty in the United States is at an all time low.Big Smile 150 Emma Yang, a 14 years old from New York, created and continues to develop a phone app that helps those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Survivors of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting organized the “March for our Lives” and continue to fight for reasonable gun laws. The 2018 midterm elections had the largest midterm turnout and elected the most diverse Congressional Freshman Class ever. We are seeing good news stories from both right wing and left wing media.

Almost from the moment when humans became self-aware, we have personified Time.Personifications of Time 300 From Heh, the Egyptian god of Infinity and Eternity to  Kali, the Hindu goddess of Time, Creation, Destruction and Power; from the High Fruitful Mother and her Wheel of the Year to Itzamna who ruled the Mayan cycles of creation and destruction; from the pre-Socratic Chronos to the two-faced Roman god Janus, we have seen Time as Ruler, Predator, and/or Companion. When the ancient Roman calendar was revised to create two winter months [1]  around 713 BC, the first of those months was named after Janus and became the beginning of the year. [2] 

It seems likely that the Romans were more concerned about the end of the year than the beginning. Since the beginning of human history, the days surrounding the Winter Solstice have been a period of both fear and awe in the Northern Hemisphere. The Solstice is the longest night of the year … the day of the Death of the Sun.Chronus Father Time and Grim Reaper 150 For untold eons, people raised prayers to Chronos and other gods and goddesses of Time pleading for the Sun’s rebirth. So far, those prayers have been answered in the positive. The Sun rises on the days that follow and those days begin to lengthen.

In more recent centuries, a merger of Chronos and the Grim Reaper produced the familiar figure of Father TimeFather Time 01 150 … holding an hour glass in one hand and a scythe in the other. Because Father Time must once have been a child, the idea that he might be part of a line of beings who aged very quickly grew and spread. This idea led to our modern mythology of Father Time and an Infant or Child descendant representing the Old and New Years respectively. Like the Sun at the Solstice, a year passes into history and a year continues the next day.

Yes, 2018 was rough. Yes, our President is a 3rd rate real estate salesman with an inferiority complex, but he won’t be with us that much longer. [3]  The 2018 midterm election brought a lot of new, diverse, and apparently dedicated people to Congress.

Yes, our Government seems to exist in a state of perpetual paralysis, but when the Government fails, the People take action. Whenever some of our people are faced with disaster, others step in to help them. Whether it’s volunteers helping after a major calamity or some anonymous person paying for the Christmas layaways of unknown neighbors, helping others is part of our national heritage.

For every sexual predator or mass murderer, there are hundreds of activists seeking a way to curtail and ultimately eliminate such abominations. For every purveyor of hatred, there are dozens spreading compassion. For every Hypochristian … for every Islamic Extremist … for every mocking Atheist … for every self-righteous and fearful bigot, there are thousands who have learned that the only way to function as a society is through Tolerance and Love.

For every climate denier, there are hundreds of researchers and dozens of companies producing and distributing products that address the problem. Like the tens of thousands who purchase and use those products, most of them are focused more on enlightened self-interest than on climate concerns … but, the results are just as positive. [4]  

Every new year; every new day; every moment is a time for Hope. As long as we remember that, we’ll be OK … as Individuals … as a Country … as a World.

 

May 2019 be our best year ever.

Ostrich 2019
 
 

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End Notes
  1. The original Roman year was 10 months distributed across 304 days. The remaining 61+ days were just Winter.
     
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  2. When March was the first month and December the tenth, the year naturally began on the first of March. Adding January and February, then declaring the first of January to be the beginning of the year, made the Latin prefixes of September, October, November, and December a bit nonsensical.
     
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  3. Whether as a result of the Mueller Investigation, Impeachment and Conviction, the 25th Amendment, failure to win nomination in the 2020 primaries, loss of the 2020 general election, or whatever …, I believe that President Donald J. Trump will be a private citizen by January 20, 2021. (Of course, I’ve been wrong before.)
     
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  4. Even if I weren’t “climate aware”, I’d use LED light bulbs and drive a fuel-efficient car because they save me a lot of money. I absolutely believe that intelligently designed technology rather than deprivation is the path to a better future for the planet and its creatures … including us.
     
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