Jan. 1 has no real
meaning, astronomically; the earth reaches the place it was,
relative to the sun a year ago, every day.
Nevertheless, as we
head into the traditional New Year, I pause to ask:
“What is this I hear of
sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you —.”
— Lucinda Matlock, Spoon River
Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters.
I still love much of
the poetry I learned in high school; this is one favorite to share
today, just in case anyone’s feeling a tad weary after the
extraordinary events of 2014 that I’m not going to reiterate here,
because they’re behind us now, right?
Not that there’s
anything wrong with anger, when it’s called for by events and the
people causing them. Anger and discontent are the only proper
response to things that need fixin’. It’s the sorrow, weariness and
drooping hopes that seem an odd response to a brave New Year,
another chance to get it right. And yet I hear discouragement,
sometimes from political activists on my side, which is to say, the
side of truth, justice and the American Way: the Constitution, rule
of law, freedom with personal responsibility, the melting pot of
nationalities, races/colors, and creeds that believe in said
I’m happy to see the
Left dispirited — by the Republican
takeover of the Senate, more Republicans in the House, Republican
governors, many Americans looking at what the Left hath wrought in
the last several years and asking, what the hey!? Of course it’s
easy to imagine the Right becoming dispirited if said Republicans
don’t live up to campaign promises and take advantage of their
majority status to set things right, and if most Americans decide to
escape into apathy instead of taking responsibility for their
One could say it’s not
a hopeful sign that, when asked by Gallup to name their most admired
man and woman, respondents placed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
on top; but only 12 percent said this and the rest spread their
votes across a spectrum of political and entertainment choices.
At my age, the word
“admired” doesn’t evoke the same quick response that it did when I
was a child and had a long list beginning with Peter Pan, who seemed
real to me -- and even now, I stopped watching the ABC series “Once
Upon a Time” when the writers made him a villain. In sixth grade I
would have probably said Fidel or Raoul Castro, as I imagined
running away to join the Cuban revolution; glad now I didn’t, they
were a big disappointment.
The third popular
choice on this year’s admired woman list was Malala Yousafzai, the
courageous young lady who was shot by the Taliban and continues to
stand up to these terrorists and their mission to keep women
uneducated. I’ll choose her. Stephen Hawking is on the men’s list
because people have recently seen the movie about his life: I admire
him, too, and all those who triumph over handicaps to lead
Did you ever wonder why
the political spectrum is called Left and Right? Left and right of
what center? I’ll share an excerpt from another favorite poem,
Henrik Ibsen’s “Brand”:
“Enjoy life if
you will, but be consistent, do it all the time,
Not one thing one day and another the next.
Be wholly what you are, not half and half.
Everyone now is a little of everything…
A little lavish in giving promises, but niggardly in
A little of everything; a little sin, a little virtue; a
little good, a little evil;
The one destroys the other, and every man is nothing.”
Well, I’m sure Brand
didn’t mean to validate being wholly bad just for the sake of
consistency. I just like the final phrase: “and every man is
nothing.” Seems a fair description of those who compromise too much.
Let’s just consider
right and wrong, then resolve to make things right in 2015.
I resolve to continue
to represent diversity this year. All by myself, as a libertarian, I
bring Diversity to any debate, even when it’s a debate among other
libertarians who share a bottom-line value of freedom, then argue
about foreign policy, immigration policy and legalizing drugs.
We do need a definition
section to our 2014 policy debates. I’m not always sure what
“conservative” wants to conserve: certainly, the Constitution and
the American Dream, but wasn’t it one of our Founding Fathers who
said “waste not, want not”? So I include conserving the environment,
which is why I recycle and try to control my environmental footprint
(as long as no one is trying to force me to do this, see
I do not support the
“carbon tax” on all fossil fuels used by Massachusetts consumers
that was recommended by a report released last month by the state
Department of Energy. Voters just repealed an automatic gas tax
hike; give it a break, liberals.
“Liberal” in general
means generous, though was it once assumed this meant with one’s own
resources and not what it could take from others before distributing
While everyone was busy
compromising and getting to the Center and getting along, our
national debt hit $18 trillion, of which my teenage grandtwins each
owe $56,000. No one seems to care anymore.
However, I do not have
drooping hopes. I expect things will get so bad that voters may be
ready for a libertarian to be elected with a mandate to apply Right
principles and conserve America, and then, final poem today, from
Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and
all manner of thing shall be well.”
Happy New Year.
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem