Saturday, January 6, 2018


The holidays are past. It’s time assess and plan ahead. What are we (individuals, families, cities, nations) looking to decide, to do, to be in 2018?

The United States is no longer the leading country. It itself has proclaimed that by pulling out of treaties and planning to build a wall. No longer accepting huddled masses to enjoy liberty, but trying to keep them out instead. The fortress nation.

The rest of the world is adjusting to this. The voluntary weakening of the U.S. means freedom for new empires to arise. Just as the U.S. builds its walls against the foreigner (physical and legal), China is building its trans-Asian rail and road system to enhance its access to Western Europe.

But we live at the local level. Let’s shift our thinking to neighbor-to-neighbor. What can we learn from the story of four neighbors? 

First, a certain woman loves to transform her home into a fairyland for the holidays. She’s known for this. So, a few weeks ago, three neighbors volunteered to help her unpack her many decorations and get them in place.  This weekend the neighbors are teaming up to help her store the decorations until next Yuletide.

Learning #1: one thing we can all do: pitch in to help the person/the family next door. Nothing new here, but just a reminder.

Moving beyond that lovely story: two other learnings for 2018.

Learning #2: vow to tend to your own mental and spiritual life. The way to survive in our new environment is to hold on to your ability to think critically. That means maintaining your spirituality and your sense of values, looking at the evidence, making up your own mind, and developing your strategy for moving ahead in life. A big order, indeed. Desmond Tutu did it in the 1980s. Women who've been harassed are doing it now.

Do you know how to do this? Do your family members?

To make sure, encourage your student family members to enroll in history and social science courses, philosophy/religion studies along with science and technical training.

Third learning: express yourself to your elected representatives, state and national. American readers, you can find your U.S. senator contactinformation here and your U.S. representative contact information here. 

I’ll bet you have your own additional coping mechanisms. Share them if you wish. Make a comment. 

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