by Dennis Peacocke
THIS YEAR, as usual, most of us are wishing one another a Happy New Year. This hopefully implies that it should be better than the year that just passed. This is a beloved social custom and is based on the assumption of friendship, goodwill and the general optimism connected with the possibility of new beginnings and the potential for prosperity.
This year, I hear a note of uncertainty with this blessing… The temporary “Recession” we have been experiencing has sobered all of us to greater or lesser degrees. To be sure, some are prospering, but the majority of Americans are either glad to be holding on to their jobs or they are looking for work and fighting discouragement. This “Recession” has cost us eight million jobs and several million mortgage foreclosures. Most significantly, it is clearly not over and even if the economists say that it is, most of us know that the debt issues we are facing on a state-by-state basis, let alone our national debt and unresolved entitlement issues, are nowhere near being resolved.
This kind of discussion is especially uncomfortable for people who are self-absorbed and seldom really relate to others in need or the needs of society itself beyond how it may help them prosper. Living in reality is often not easy and until we are convinced that it will eventually “hunt us down,” we tend to avoid it. Reality is, in fact, the safest place to live once we commit ourselves to it. However, it is not enough for individuals to be in reality to prosper; we need our society to be in reality as well. This is very difficult for most politicians to see, let alone have the courage to speak and vote for reality when it is called for. The ability to do so is what separates mere politicians from true statesmen.
As individuals and as a nation, we must connect the dots between our nation’s values and our nation’s economic condition. We are not in an economic crisis as much as we are in a values crisis that has now eaten its way into the fiber of how we steward resources and the lifestyle we demand, whether or not the system can pay for it. This is not news to many of you reading this, however, our virtue is not simply in the fact that we see a measure of reality by God’s grace—the real issue is, are we able to help others see it as well? Are we multiplying reality or just content to see it ourselves? One thing is certain in 2011: our nation has never been more in need of leaders, both local and national, who will become contagious with spreading reality. Will you volunteer? You can help secure a more certain New Year’s blessing for the future, and that is……the bottom line.