The spirit of the holiday season seems a bit harder to come by this year. Maybe it’s because we’re exhausted. And worried. You, too?
We’re hopeful that some time away from the daily grind, combined with the joy and comfort that comes from spending time with loved ones, will lift us up and grant us the temporary luxury of setting aside our worries just long enough to refill our hearts with compassion, empathy and understanding for our fellow humans, with gratitude for the good fortune to have survived the insanity of the past two years, and with a fervent hope that the future will be more a blessing than a curse.
Still, we worry. We worry about our community’s children. Trauma after trauma has left them deeply unsettled, exacerbated for many by a grinding poverty that makes life a torturous daily struggle the rest of us simply cannot fathom. Our wish for them is to be wrapped tightly in the arms of a loving and caring family and community, to be heard and supported in expressing their fears, and to once again experience the unbridled, unburdened joys of youth.
We worry about the easy availability of firearms and the intransigence of those who consider the death of innocent children as mere collateral damage in their senseless war to preserve the dangerous notion that all we need to be safe is even more guns. We wish our elected leaders would for once disregard the protestations of the paranoid fringe and embrace their solemn obligation to create a safer society where children can go to school without the gnawing fear that they will be the next victims of an armed madman.
We worry about our healthcare system as it buckles yet again under the strain of a resurgent pandemic, thanks to the mindless intransigence of far too many of our fellow citizens who seem neither to understand the implications nor care about the consequences of their selfish decision to remain unvaccinated. We wish for them the gift of enlightenment, that they might finally comprehend the reality of our circumstances and do what is necessary to protect the health of their family, friends and community. We wish, too, for a reprieve from the relentless stress and exhaustion that weighs so heavily on our frontline healthcare workers, who continue to selflessly tend to the needs of those whose very actions have placed their own health in jeopardy.
We worry about our nation’s increasingly toxic politics and the deep divisions that keep driving us apart and away from any sense of our mutual interests and shared destiny. We wish for a renewed commitment from all quarters to find the common ground that unites us as Americans, that allows us the grace to try and understand each other even when we disagree, and that will lead us together down a path where hate and intolerance are replaced by kindness and mutual respect.
We worry about climate change and our tendency as a society to gallop headlong down the path toward certain disaster, recognizing the peril of our circumstances only after it is far too late. We wish for an epiphany among those who think it’s not a real problem and whose continued refusal to embrace their personal responsibility to be part of the solution is driving us off a cliff like a proverbial herd of lemmings throwing themselves into a churning sea.
We worry about our governor, whose brave and bold leadership through most of the pandemic has all but vanished, perhaps due to the relentless criticism of her critics, but more likely, it seems, due to a self-focused desire to retain power despite the heavy cost that continued inaction will visit upon those who remain vulnerable to illness and death. We wish for her and her advisers a renewed sense of their obligation as leaders to put public health and safety ahead of the crass calculations that make the rest of us expendable pawns in a winner-take-all partisan chess game.
We worry about the rising income inequality that is leaving so many behind while filling the bank accounts of those who already have far more than they will ever need. We wish for policymakers to adopt a system of fair taxation that provides for the well-being of the nation and supports the dreams and aspirations of families who just want to live free from the relentless burdens of financial stress. And, we wish for those with the means and the conscience to give generously and often to help provide for the basic needs of the least among us. Every act of kindness really does make a difference.
Our encyclopedia of worries notwithstanding, we hope that City Pulse readers and their families will find their way to a joyous holiday season filled with enough love and light to carry them into the new year with a renewed sense of optimism, with the belief that this, too, shall pass, and with the resolve to each do our part to make the world around us a better place.
Happy holidays to all.
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