Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year - What Does That Mean?

Yesterday we undecorated, packed everything up and put it back in the attic. Today we cleaned house and restored the normal look. I now have fresh flowers on the table to go with the snow outside. We had 4 inches of new snow yesterday evening. It was beautiful last night at 11:00, but this morning it had all turned to slush as the weather warmed up. Seattle is back to normal. Rain is on the way. Today is the real first day of the new year. The holidays are over, kids are back to school, those who work are facing a five day work week, and government will soon again be filling the halls of congress and state legislatures. Confirmation hearings will begin in the other Washington. Will it be the same old partisan bickering? What will 2009 bring? How will it be new? Yes, there will soon be a new president and a new administration. Many have expressed hope in the changes that will bring. I myself have a sense of anticipation, but it's an uneasy anticipation. After the holidaze hiatus, my brain is waking back up to politics and economics and world affairs. But here's my question - How will we achieve newness when we bring so much old baggage? Scanning the newspaper this morning, I found news about the economic stimulus proposal. Forty percent of the cost will come in tax cuts. Obama wants to quiet conservative congressional skeptics who fear large government spending packages. Is our president-elect compromising too much for the sake of unity? Will the government spending programs be monitored so the money really goes to infrastructure and job creation instead of being wasted? Aren't the same spenders mostly still in power? I don't like tax cuts. I think it sends the message that we can just keep on charging it and not pay for what we buy. Our credit economy has gotten us into this mess. Do we want to encourage more? On the business page the first of ten items of a list of economic advice to people was to resolve to trim spending by 15 percent. That's great if you were spending with a credit card and not saving, but what if your income is stable and your indebtedness is low? If I cut back on spending, who loses their job, whose business goes under? If you still have money, shouldn't you still spend it? Did anyone watch It's a Wonderful Life in the last few weeks? The lesson there was pretty clear - don't run on the banks. Don't panic! Internationally, I read that Sunni terrorists were blowing themselves up in Baghdad in order to kill Shiite pilgrims coming to the shrine of a saint. Of course the holy season is to honor a grandson of Muhammad, who's killing started the division of Sunni and Shiite in the first place. A saint to one is a monster to another. It never stops. We are no longer talking about withdrawal from Iraq. It will happen. But now we are getting sucked into the trap of Afghanistan. What will that cost in lives and treasure? And straighten me out if I'm wrong, but is it really that important to get Osama bin Laden, if he is even still alive? When is enough killing enough? Israel and the Palestinians have the world watching and worrying again. I have yet to sort out that situation enough to decide if any party there is right enough to outweigh the wrong. On the one hand it seems simple enough to say to Hamas, "Stop lobbing rockets into Israel". But it's the Sunni/Shiite thing all over again! Old hatreds never die. Hamas is a collection of "crime families" who don't take orders. Instability threatens the whole region. Old baggage in a new year. And to top it off, our Comcast cable service has been telling us we will be fine when the TV system switches over to digital this year. We won't need to do anything. Today we received the boxes Comcast sent us to hook up for the transition. The best advice I have seen is to look out for your friends and family and neighbors. And be prepared to help hook up the elderly neighbor lady's TV. My hope for 2009? That we can learn from our mistakes.


  1. My house is back to normal[that would be minus the holiday decorations.]
    The whole govt/wars/economy is more than I can wrap my brain around, and so I found your post to be helpful. What makes me crazy is all of the 'added stuff' that gets added onto legislation for it to pass.

  2. It will be interesting to see what happens when reality sets in for the new administration. Have you sen"Ther Candidate" with Robert Redford? The story of an idealistic young politician who was tagged by his party to run for President, and his surprise and disallusionment when the corruption of the political machine came to light once he became trapped in it.

    I think our President Elect is going to find himself pulled in many directions by some not altogether friendly factions in both parties. I can only pray for him...pray that his character will stay strong and true to the values he professed when running for office. There will be many who will make this job even more difficult for him.

    The Middle East... now there's a pot of spaghetti if there ever was one. That area of the world has been at war for thousands of years. I see no end to it. I want no part of it. I can see that we may have to become involved... but to what end? For what lasting purpose? I remain completely confused on that issue.
    It seems as though the old song is right... "Today there is no black and white. Only shades of gray".

    Very reflective post. It gives much to chew on.

    I may put my Santas away tomorrow and place my snowmen out among the pine trees that I use to decorate my home for the holidays. We'll see. I'm in no hurry.

  3. Caryn, I agree. I think Barack Obama has already had some "Oh my gosh" moments,like "I really have to leave Chicago and go live in DC?"

  4. the future is always a big question but we can't loose sight of HOPE...possibilities for betterment are always there and the only place it in start is in our own hearts.

  5. I found your post today very interesting and thought provoking. I can hardly bear to raise my head to look at the future. I so hope Obama will have a good term but so many are after him and he hasn't even gotten in office yet.

    I was surprised to learn the same was true for Roosevelt when he went into office during the depressions. You'd think we'd all pull together as a country to get out of the ditch but not so.

    In my view Israel has become a schoolyard bully in the Middle East. Needs to been put back in place. We punish our children when they become bullies and countries should do the same. Perhaps it will be different now that their cover is out of office.

  6. Very good post Linda..but I am reading it too late to think..I am hopeful..and tired....good night..I will have to stop back...

  7. this was so well written! thanks for such insight and eloquence.


  8. Great post, Linda. I think a lot of us are having the same thoughts and worries. On the positive side, I just came from reading that Obama has told Congress he wants no pork in the stimulus package. On the negative side I really pray for a day when this whole "tax cut" mania is a bad memory. If we want things to run well and smoothly - guess what? It takes $$$. What a concept.

    I don't understand why Comcast needs you to hook anything up to anything. We have cable. They told us we're good to go. ???

  9. This was a very excellent post, Linda. You've thrown out a lot of quandries that I have no idea what to say. The Middle East is entrenched with so much hatred that I have no idea how to bring peace. I have a lot of hope in Obama but he's one person with no magic wand and there's too much to fix. He's smart but he's not a miracle worker. Still, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed.

    We used our $40.00 coupon and got the converter box. We'll see what happens this month when Hawaii goes through the conversion.

  10. Very philosophycal Linda, and I agree with you. A good blog. - Dave

  11. Linda, you are such a great thinker nd writer. You help me to make sense of all the economic and political stuff going on, if there is any sense to it. Mike even enjoyed reading this blog.


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