Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy 2007, everyone!

No resolutions for me. My record of keeping New Year's resolution is dismal. Just hopes for the New Year.

- Health, wealth and happiness for all my family and friends, and even not my friends, although of course, my people would get first dibs if I was doing the assigning.

- The Iraq War to end and, in the same spirit of self-interestedness as above, most especially for Jason to come home safety to Tammi and the boys.

- For me, personally, to become a published novelist in 2007.

- A magnificent reconstruction of New Orleans, which will be proof for me that the optimistic, energetic, can-do spirit of America is back. As long as that treasure on the Mississippi languishes, half-dead, my faith in America is diminished. The country that sent a man to the moon can't re-build a freakin' city???

- A turning in the national psyche from caring how the well-off are prospering to caring how the working class are doing. It's not as if the affluent didn't continue to get richer in the 80's. They didn't fade under the supposedly onerous taxes of Bill Clinton but we could pay our bills then instead of just forwarding them on to our kids and grandkids. I get so damned tired of the talking heads on t.v. telling me how the stock market is up and that proves how wonderfully the economy is doing. The stock market is about investment bankers and insurance companies and oil corporations and dot-com executives, it isn't about Joe Six-pack on Main Street trying to make his house payments and feed his family. Joe doesn't really exist in the business news. How many programs called "Labor Watch" have you ever seen on television? How many sections of newspapers are called "Working Class"? None, that's how many. If they talk about us at all, it is usually when some big corporation lays off thousands of us and the stock market rewards them by running up their stock - not to mention the C.E.O. who is lauded as being "tough", and who probably gets a big bonus.

- In the same vein, I wish America would start making stuff again. What is it that we DO now? We don't produce much - it is difficult to find an American-made product even if you're willing to pay more to support American workers. We evidently don't manage ports. We worry about nuclear weapons but in the end, we may be overtaken by the countries that produce the simple nuts and bolts of our military equipment. It is not a good thing when we've gone from G.M. being our largest employer to Walmart being our largest employer.

- National health care - it's time.

- I hope we quit rewarding people who are wrong in this country. Most of our elected leaders have been wrong about just about everything from the reason for going to war in Iraq to the aftermath of what would happen after we toppled Saddam to how much all of it would cost. They were wrong about the wisdom of folding FEMA into Homeland Security. They were wrong about the benefits of No Child Left Behind. The national media was wrong right along with them because they aren't mostly independent thinkers, they want too badly to be part of the elite in-crowd who all have cocktails together in Washington and New York. They consider themselves the power people and tend to align themselves with other power people which is why most of them went right along with the Bush administration. You could quote columnist after columnist in the big national newspapers who were wrong in their predictions. And yet, they give one another Medals of Freedom and journalistic awards and praise one another and pat one another on the back and, when one of them leaves, in government or the media, they simply replace him or her with someone else who was also wrong - and they keep trivializing the people who actually were right.

- In Wabash County, I hope we figure out how to get a grip on our drug problem, which is severe - much more severe than most people realize who don't work in law enforcement or the legal system. The Drug Task Force guys work their hearts out but two Wabash City Police officers and half of a deputy aren't enough. I think it is going to take a real commitment on the part of the public to effect any real change. I'm almost to the point of thinking that everyone who dies of a drug overdose should be publicized in the newspaper. I know that probably isn't realistic and the families wouldn't care for it. But people would be shocked to know how many of our young (and not so young) people we are losing to drugs. There have always been drugs. Certainly, many in my generation indulged but it seems the kinds of substances on the street now are so much more deadly that there is no margin for error. I'm not sure what the answers are but acknowledging the size of the problem would at least be a first step.

I guess this hasn't been a very jolly New Year's wish list but I hope it is onward and upward in 2007!