Not the New Year Message I Hoped to Write

I haven’t posted on this blog for three months. There are multiple reasons—none of them good. I’ve been busy … I’ve been at work on other projects … I’ve been frustrated by WordPress’s new editing format … I’ve been discouraged by the state of the world. All true, but each insufficient.

There is something I am burning to say that will not coalesce into sentences with verbs and nouns and proper punctuation. Instead, I sputter and rage. I seem to have traded my Pollyanna tendencies for those of Nostradamus, or perhaps Eeyore.

Prophet of doom is not who I am. Yet I shiver to think of where we may be this time next year. And two years after that.

Over the last five years, I’ve realized just how much I took for granted about my country. How much I failed to see—whether from ignorance, naïveté, or because I was looking in the wrong direction. I knew my country was imperfect—that inequality and injustice were far too prevalent—but I believed enough of us cared and wanted to work together to build a more perfect union.

I wish I could say I still believe that.

I wish I could say that I still believe people value truth. And that the ideal and reality of a working democracy is more important to each of us than always getting our way.

I haven’t given up on kindness. And never will. But I am consumed by the fear that this flawed and rickety American experiment in representative government will be toppled by the greed and power-madness of a small minority who seek to impose their will and their lies over the rest of us. And by our belief that it can’t happen here. And by the seductive allure of cults. And by the ineptness of those who are well-intentioned, but unprepared to acknowledge and confront the dangers facing us. And last, but surely not least, by ourselves—the bewildered, incredulous, and tired, who wring our hands and share our fears in worried tones, hoping that someone has a plan—someone smarter, stronger, better-positioned.

This is how democracies are lost.

The coming year may be the most important ever in this country’s nearly 250-year history. No matter how powerless or ill-equipped we may feel to meet the direct and deliberate challenge to our democracy, each of us must act. We must do something. We must do what we can . . . and then some.

When 2022 comes to a close a year from now, what will America look like?

New Year’s messages should be hopeful. They should speak of the better days ahead and the sunshine that follows a dark winter.

I’m sorry.

51 thoughts on “Not the New Year Message I Hoped to Write

  1. Well stated Donna, I feel the same way you do. It might sound odd coming from a Canadian, there are those who would say it’s none of my business, but first I care deeply about our neighbours and second, if democracy topples in the US, so will go the rest of us. — so we should all be scared. And we all have to act. And btw, I detest this new WordPress platform or template or whatever it is and it is definitely one of the reasons I’m blogging less too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Fransi. I hope Americans are as concerned and invested in Canada’s success and viability as Canadians are in ours. We really are in this together. As flawed as we are, it does feel like we’re the domino that could topple many others. And thanks for validating my WordPress frustrations. It seems like a classic case of making changes to a perfectly good system for the sake of change.

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      • I think you’d be amazed at the reaction of Canadians to all of it, the Trump nightmare, the insurrection and everything the republicans are doing to undermine elections. Nobody can believe something like this could happen in the US. It is really shocking. As for WordPress you’re right. Guess they don’t know the principle “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” All the tech companies constantly tinker. It drives me nuts because it never improves anything, it makes it worse.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. A thoughtful and important reflection, Donna, The most important foundation for change is acknowledging reality for what it is and realizing what we would like it to be. Fantasies won’t help us be present to do whatever small things we can to move us toward what we have learned is possible. Sending my gratitude and best wishes to you on that journey which we share. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have been missed. Your thoughtful insights, your clarity of vision, your humility. I share your worries, and fear the bumbling by those we count on to preserve the nation. Keep writing (in spite of WordPress and its “improvements”).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi, Donna- So beautifully and painful are your words. I sadly agree entirely. I struggle to believe what I know is happening. I still have hope somehow, some way we turn this greed based, chilling demise around, but it is not clear, is it? Thank you for putting all this into your words and best to you! Margy Heldring

    Liked by 2 people

    • So good to hear from you, Margy! I have to believe that with hope and action, and steely persistence, we will find our way back to a better path. Thanks for your very kind words. Wishing you the best in the year ahead.

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  5. I share your worries, Donna. Although, I do feel more at ease than during the last administration. Nevertheless, I do agree that we still have an enormous amount of work to do. Yes, WE. All of us together. I think many of us are feeling worn down. (It is good to hear from you, though.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • It has been an exhausting few years, Cheryl. Maybe if we view this as a relay race, and periodically hand-off the struggle to someone else while we re-energize and ready ourselves to take the baton again and run with it. (I’m inept at sports metaphors.) It’s so important to know we’re not alone in our concerns. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that analogy, Donna. And it makes it all seem more doable. I also commiserate on the new WordPress editor troubles. That also added to my absence on here. I know I should dig in and get with it, but it really took the fun out of blogging for me. I just don’t have the mental bandwidth right now. Take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t imagine living in America… I really can’t. Your negative feelings are totally justified and valid; the whole world is in such a mess. I despair for the young folk too, who are faced with such uncertain futures, especially with climate change disasters…
    Oh dear, I’m getting as disillusioned as you :/ But yes, Kindness is paramount. Integrity is paramount. Caring is paramount. Never lose sight of the community around you who share your values, appreciate your authenticity, and care for your suffering.
    Sending a hug, and blessings for 2022, G ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, G, for your wise words, and especially for your inspiring encouragement. Climate change is the other issue that awakens me with worry in the early hours. I do believe that kindness, integrity, caring, community, and truthfulness are how we can repair all the things we’ve broken—if we have the will to do it. I so appreciate your comment. The best to you in the coming year.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. If any members of the Republican Party actually are normal, decent people, then they should hang their heads in shame for staying in that party, which is doing its best to 1) restrict or overturn basic rights and freedoms, and 2) bring democracy to its knees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like you, Neil, I am bewildered by the continued allegiance to a party that seems bent on destroying our democracy and our values. I keep trying to understand how and why people can overlook the damage of the last few years, and the blatant meanness of the party as it is now. I wonder if there are some who still cling to a vision of the Republican party their father supported and keep thinking this is an aberration that will soon pass. I also wonder if people are in the grip of a massive cult mentality. Meanwhile, the dangers are real.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. thanks for sharing your disillusionment about your country Donna. Here in South Africa, many if not most of us have given up on our current govt. 27 years into democracy and it’s in an appalling state. Opposition parties (we had local govt elections last month) have an opportunity to topple this endemically corrupt party …
    On a better note – $Hell has been disallowed their exploration of oil and gas on our eastern wild coast. A few months ago they were allowed to do their seismic blasting thereby causing irreparable harm to the ocean and her inhabitants, but there was such an outcry from the public and final court order made on Tuesday. The people won!
    May 2022 be a better year for all us …

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s wonderful news that the people’s environmental concerns prevailed over Shell’s ambitions. I hope we will see a lot more decisions like that in the coming years. Like our democracies, the environment is also on the brink of disaster–one that might make our governmental concerns moot. I’m reminded of the old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Yep. Thanks, Susan. And the best in the new year.

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  9. You have been missed! I watch the news and I’m constantly asking myself how we got here. Even reasonably intelligent, good people have gone seemingly nuts and democracy is at great risk. The one ray of hope I see is the small group of people and younger folks that see and work for a brighter future for all of us. Every time I’m about ready to throw up my hands and “walk away” here comes another to remind me that I can have hope. I hope you have a blessed New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gregory. Like you, I am bewildered by the path that brought us here, and also hopeful that young people will play a key role in leading us to that brighter future. We’ve mangled the world pretty well, but I hope they and we are up to the task of repairing it. My best to your in this new year.

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  10. I also share your worries. My confidence with the direction of our where our country is headed is at an all-time low. I pray daily for our country and the people who are in the ranks that control our destiny. Listening to the news is overwhelming to me and I really have to limit what I see and hear to keep myself from sinking too low. I am praying hard not to be ruled by the element of fear that is so prevalent in our society these days. I 100% support your “kindness” – it does make a big difference and it is so easy to implement. Keep it going.

    On another note, I really dislike the new format of Word Press and have also not posted as much as a result. I am glad you are back as I have always enjoyed reading your thoughts and words. Here is to a new year of peace, kindness, blessings and a positive outcome as we move forward as a people and a country. Happy New Year Donna!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words. Reading and listening to too much news really is overwhelming (and, I suspect, detrimental to our health). I’ve cut way back, too, and am trying to balance staying informed with staying sane. I think you’re absolutely right that fear is driving so much of what we’re seeing today. Wishing you the best in this new year.

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    • Hi, Jet. Thank you. I have no doubt that I’m surrounded by goodness and that goodness is abundant. I see it daily. My worry is that our complacency will allow the forces of evil, greed and deceit to hijack our democracy. The dangers are real, too. Thanks!

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  11. I feel the same, Donna, but you’re just burned out. Deep in your heart you know you need to keep putting the message of positivity out there otherwise the candle on the shelf goes dark. You can do this. We all can. Chin up, new year, new attitude, new opportunities, and eff those mothers who aren’t on board with the program! ;0)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Pam, yes, I will surely resume my positive messages, but I will also continue to worry about the state of our nation, and will continue to voice my concerns and act where and how I can. The lies that so many people choose to accept as truths are going to keep growing—and dividing us—unless the rest of us take a strong and principled stand. Thank you and happy new year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I share your fears and worries — like every day!! — and there’s no evidence that it’s going to get any better anytime soon, Donna, which is why we lightworkers need to hold our ground! Bitch about it when you have to and then go back to holding your candle 🕯against the darkness.

        And I may need you to parrot my words back to me next week because it’s very hard not to get depressed by it all. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love the term “lightworkers,” Pam. I think it describes the effort we are undertaking and the world we are committed to both believing is possible and working toward. It’s so good to know that when any of us start to lose hope or energy, there is a community of like-minded people to step up, step in, and also provide encouragement. Thanks!

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  12. I have just started reading your blog and book and this was my first blog post of yours. With that said, I am glad it was. I am glad that someone who chooses to live deliberately kind writes with passion about what is happening here in America. It is scary. But the more I read your book the more I believe that conversations must be had, individually and constantly but with kindness. I am in a family that has been split by misinformation. Boundaries had to be set because my kids mental health is worth it and it was one of the strongest and kindest things I could do for them. Unlike anything I have tried before it started a conversation that is needed and hard.

    You are not just burned out but scared at this country’s burning. I don’t know answers but I am trying here with the idea of kindness leading the charge in tough conversations going forward. Thank you for writing honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Summer, welcome to my (now sporadic) blog. And thanks so much for reading my book. Your lovely comment reminded me of something I read just a day or two ago (and can’t seem to find the exact quote at this moment). The essence was that these are terrible times and we’re facing things we never imagined having to face, but no matter what, we must face them with kindness. No exceptions.
      You are so right that we must engage in courageous conversations about the issues and beliefs that are dividing us. While also maintaining boundaries. Kindness begins with us being kind to ourselves.

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  13. I’ve missed your blog posts so I thought I’d better check in on you. I take your point. I walk on eggshells wherever I go, which is not too many places because of the virus. Around me I see people who like drama, loudly shouting the latest nonsensical gibberish, while those of us who like calm are forced to deal with the antics of these childish people. I feel like one of the few adults left in this country, standing in the middle watching fools destroy it. Not a pleasant feeling

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ally, it does feel like we’re surrounded by people who have lost the ability to reason. I hesitate to call them children, because most of the children I’ve known are better-behaved. I hope we’re not witnessing the disintegration of our country, but I wouldn’t put any money on the outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Margaret. Thanks for visiting and for your comment. These are scary times, and one of the few comforts is knowing there are like-minded people who share our desire to change the course we appear to be on. Glad to meet you.

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