An important thing to remember as we start a New Year

Summary:  As we start a new year we can gain courage by looking at the good aspects of our past and the glimmers of good fortune that lie in our future.

Believe me when I say that we have a difficult time ahead of us.
But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it.
I stand before you now, truthfully, unafraid.
Because I believe something you do not?
No!
I stand here because I remember.
I remember that I am here not because the path that lies before me, but because of the path that lies behind me.

— Morpheus speaking to the people of Zion, from The Matrix Reloaded (2003).

As we start a New Year I find it useful to review my core beliefs. It is easy to lose sight of those amidst the clatter of daily events.

  1. We are a people with a great past.
  2. The challenges ahead are no greater than those behind us.
  3. The American people can surmount these challenges if we work together.
  4. We will be what we wish to be, if we but make the necessary effort.

Some New Year’s Day inspiration from our past

Here are some posts about good news. See others at Good news about America.

  1. Good news: The Singularity is coming (again) — History tends to look better over longer time horizons. For example, consider one bit of good news: the Singularity is coming.
  2. Some good news (one of the more important posts here) – I do not believe we need fear the future, despite the tough times coming soon. This remains a great nation, not because of our past but because of us and our polity. We differ from almost every other nation. The difference consists of our commitment to our political order, of which our Constitution is the foundation. In this we are like Athens more than our neighbors …
  3. Is America’s decline inevitable? No! – Why be an American if one has no faith in the American people? How can you believe in democracy without that faith?
  4. Let us light a candle while we walk, lest we fear what lies ahead — Many people look to the future with fear. We see this fear throughout the web. Right-wing sites describe the imminent end of America: overrun by foreigners, victim of cultural and financial collapse. Left-wing sites describe “die-off” scenarios due to Peak Oil, climate change, and ecological collapse – as the American dream dies from takeover by theocrats and fascists. Most of this is nonsense, but not the prospect of massive changes in our world. But need we fear the future?
  5. Fears of flying into the future. — Reasons we need not fear the future.
  6. Good news about the 21st century, a counterbalance to the doomsters.
  7. “America’s Greatest Weapon”.
  8. Some thoughts about the economy of mid-21st century America — Optimistic words from the greatest economist of the 20th century.

8 thoughts on “An important thing to remember as we start a New Year

  1. Cat in the Hat Comes Back…Not only a great book on particle physics but useful when seriousness becomes a liability…Will need to read that often in 2012….I teach a course titled National Security in the 21st Century at a private high school…Entering sixth year..I do my best to prepare those 10 or so students each year to be good citizens and the core statement is “Country Before Agency, Service, Religion and Ideology and You Don’t Have to Wear a Military Uniform to Serve Your Country”…George C. Marshall is held up as the greatest example of a public servant in US history…If anyone is interested in the syllabus and speaker list, let me know…Among our current visitors for 2012 is the DCM Libyan Embassy for the new Libyan government…Lockheed, NGA, Northcom, journalist, Trita Parsi, China Embassy, US Navy, et al will be by….We travel each year to the USMC museum in Triangle, VA…It is absolutely the best….

  2. Almost forgot…A HNY to all….

    Here is a clip from the Dick Cavett Show….Cavett is interviewing Orson Welles…The first few minutes are interesting as Welles mentions Hitler…..About midway through the interview Cavett asks wells whe he thinks is the greatest person he ever met…The answer will surprise you and the story he tells about him is inspirational I think….Where are these people now?

    1. “Where are these people now?”

      These people are all around us. We don’t elevate them to positions of high leadership. As with most things, we are responsible for the nature of our society. Not demons or angels. When we accept this responsibility we’ll able to build a better future.

  3. Do we have the avenues to get these people elevated? If we are depending on the two party system it will not happen. Name one supreme political/military general these days that had Marshall’s integrity and was not willing to write books, have movies made about him, etc. Gates, Petraeus all of ’em sell out their country to make cash…Same with revolving door for politicians, etc..

    I’d like to agree with you about our power to elevate the Marshall’s of the world or even the intelligent human beings like Welles. But given the system as is, we have little chance of this….Maybe a world war is necessary, maybe some sort of catastrophe that unites people and brings new leadership that is closely tied with the mass of people…We are moving to a Chinese model of capitalism which all corporations favor…In fact, US corporations lobby in China’s political hallways to make sure labor stays cheap and unorganized. Same here….

    Anyway, thanks for letting me comment…This is a level site and I recommend it when asked about decent places to find pro/con opinions on matters that matter….

    Best for 2012…

    1. “Do we have the avenues to get these people elevated? If we are depending on the two party system it will not happen. ”

      One of the constants in the comments about American politics is pre-emptive surrender. We don’t try to use the Constitutional machinery because we’re confident that doing so would be in vain. It’s an ideal excuse for our lazy and feckless generation, betraying the generations of work by our ancestors.

      Self-government is neither fast nor easy. When we again step onto that road we might not see the eventual victory; it might lie too far in the distance. But it’s there.

      In May 1764 Samuel Adams took his first steps to end British rule in America (see here for details). That same year in Boston the first of the Committees of Correspondence was formed, one of the major tools of the revolution. The Revolution ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

      In 1774 Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush founded America’s first anti-slavery society. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868. The government-sponsored opporession of Blacks ended with the great Civil Rights legislation in the mid-1960s.

  4. Too few people understand the nature of the ‘long struggle’ to effect the needed changes to our political culture. Whether it was the American Revolution, the defeat of slavery, or the advancement of civil rights, our predecessors recognized the multi-generational courage and focus to accomplish their ultimate goals. They never stopped and never relented.

    Today, I get fried hearing far too many people who don’t vote saying ‘my vote won’t make any difference’, then complaining when those who DO vote are able to influence the political process! It’s unbelievable the combination of indifference and laziness that has taken hold….to think, Facebook updates and Kim Kardashian are more important to many people than the future of their country.

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