Saturday, January 1, 2011

Prayers For 2011

As 2011 rolled in, your humble servant was at Joe's Cafe in Santa Barbara, surrounded by strangers... and in a full kilt. With the exception of the kilt, New Years' Eve hadn't quite gone like I had wanted. After a full day of walking and shopping, the Queen Mother and Royal Father were a little too tired for a night of revelry -- not that they're party people, anyway. Neither am I, unless it's a dance. About the only dancing I did that night was showing a lady a few 18th Century dance steps in one of the cafe's few open spots.

Good thing 2011 has 365 days, plenty of time to do better. I'm praying others can, too.
  • I'm already hearing word on the street that the 2012 campaign season is already underway. We just entered what's supposed to be an "off year." Can we please just leave it that way? I ingested enough campaign advertising last year to make me nauseous, and I would like to do my stomach a few favors.

  • I'm praying when we get out of this recession, we don't forget the lessons a decade down the line when somebody decides not enough of us own homes.

  • We will see a number of events this year in remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. We've already seen one, the Secession Ball in South Carolina, tainted by allegations of racism. I pray that as we revisit this dark chapter in our past, we take the opportunity to point out how much this nation has grown in collective maturity and recognition of equality. We've still got work to do, but we're better now than we were 150 years ago.

    Undoubtedly, we will see other balls as part of the remembrance. The group I'm with is sponsoring one. A lot of people think we should not be marking rebellion, disloyalty and bloodshed with period dances. It's a fair argument, but I believe you can revive the elegant and honourable parts of our history while still recognizing and understanding the parts best left aside. The Society for Creative Anachronism has a saying: "We recreate the past not as it was, but as we would have liked it to have been." It's not often you get a do-over, and this is a chance to reconnect with social graces of the past even as we make amends for it. You won't be seeing slaves serving food at any of these balls, nor will you hear people extol the oppression another race. You will not see signs outside that say, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anybody."

    Prejudice comes in many forms. Putting on a hoopskirt doesn't make you a racist, nor does wearing a Confederate uniform. I pray 2011 becomes a teaching moment in that regard. So far, I have not seen any of my friends labeled unreconstructed Southerners, bigots, or some other ignorant epithet. I want it to stay that way.

  • Children, can you talk a little more and text a little less? Imagine if your human interactions were as broad as your electronic ones. Think of how much better your life would be. Think of what you wouldn't say. I see people steaming off comments to wall posts they wouldn't dare utter face-to-face.

    For years, much of my social interactions were online. I pray you'll wake up to the truth of all this.

  • I pray our political parties will recognize the false gods they've created. Power and the lust for it are your golden calves, as is placing ideology over truth. Notice I said parties -- with an s. Instead of thinking GOD is on your side, why not work at being on GOD's side?

  • I pray we find a workable solution to our health care issues without working ourselves up towards a heart attack. Ditto for immigration. A lot of you all don't care for the let's-disagree-without-being-disagreeable mantra, but I do, and I refuse to let somebody call it a load of liberal bilge.

  • Finally, I know this is a bit selfish, but I pray I might be a light for others. I can't objectively tell you if I have or haven't so far. Only GOD knows for sure.

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