Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Without Hope or Agenda

It (almost) feels like only yesterday we worried about remembering to write "2016" on our checks as the calendar pages raced ahead to embrace the new year. So, what happened? 

Life. We're down to the last seventy-two hours of that very same 2016 and here on Day 363, it bears a stark resemblance to Banquo's Ghost.

I'm not going to waste your time telling you what a turbulent year this one has been. If you're reading this, you already know that and your own adventure may have been far bumpier than mine. 

Hard to believe for so many of us this will someday be part of the Good Old Days. Seems like there's something wrong with that idea, right? I mean, don't you feel like we've been running in place? We're not even leaving a hole with each footfall-it just fills in as quickly as we lift our heel up and out to place it forward again.

So let's try looking ahead, emphasis on tryIf you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. This is how Norwich, Connecticut, (and much of our nation) finds itself today and many of us who live here are both surprised and disappointed that our results never seem to change. 

We choose to forget that you have to try something different to get a result that's different. I don't pretend to know if that's a universal truth, but I suspect it is. President Jimmy Carter offered his assessment almost three and half decades ago about a crisis of confidence that he called  an "American Malaise.

Norwich, like it or not, is a city still struggling at times to agree on a destination much less on a map and means of arriving where we want to go (and sometimes we don't seem to agree on measuring progress or determining the direction). And sometimes too many of us see government as something done to us rather than for us and when that happens, conversations about regionalization of services, mill rates, enterprise zones, zoning variances and all the other nouns, verbs, and gerunds of political grammar are reduced to just so many empty words. 
In November, we had a national election whose results may reverberate in a hundred different ways across a thousand different lives for a million miles or more. And we may never, ever, figure out what we chose or failed to choose to do. While this may be hard for some to believe and even harder to accept, that uncertainty is both a strength and flaw of our form of government and has been since our earliest days as a Republic.

In 2017, we should learn to work with one another and use ideas, ideals, and words to build bridges to join rather than walls to divide. "...(A)fter a while, you realize time flies. And the best thing that you can do is take whatever comes to you ..."

2017 begins Sunday. Ready or Not. Happy New Year?
-bill kenny

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