Monday, December 26, 2016

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff When An Elephant is in Room

I trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I’m happy Santa and his reindeer made it off the North Pole and was able to deliver all his toys for the children.  I was worried about it for a while.  You see, I made a joke last week about SantaLand may flood if the polar ice caps melt.  The day my column came out in the Reporter, I heard a news report that the temperature of the North Pole has risen 50 degrees above normal and temperatures will be at, or above 32 degrees by Christmas time.  I had no clue my joke was actually a true statement.  Sad.

One year ago in this column, at this same time as we approached the New Year, I warned everyone to “Buckle up!  2016 may be a rough ride.”  Rough ride?  That turns out to be an understatement. It was like we were shooting white water rapids, without a life preserver, on a thin inner tube, while trying to protect eggs of an endangered species. (Something I actually experienced one time, without the eggs, of course.)  

It was a wild ride and very educational.  What we thought was normal changed each day.  What I learned that surprised me the most is Americans are quick to sweat the small stuff but show little indignation over the big stuff, as long as it’s self-serving, and done in the name of patriotism or religion. 

We’ll never forget 2016!  The year something happened so shocking that all America was outraged.  Ariana Grande licked a doughnut in a shop in LA!  This caused a backlash that nearly ended her career. 

What about Colin Kaepernick of the Seattle Seahawks who first sat, and then kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem at a football game as a protest for Black Lives Matter?  Boy, that caused quite a stir in America!  The backlash to Kaepernick was swift.  He received death threats and was harassed.  He just may be the most hated man in football today.

Then something happened in 2015 that carried over into 2016, which caused arguments between friends, families, and co-workers that monopolized the news for weeks.  “Is that dress blue, black, or gold?”  Everybody had an opinion; different people perceived the colors differently.  That was a vexing time for everyone.

We’ll remember 2016, as the year a powerful man helped make twitter a mainstream mode of communication.  Joaquin  Guzman“El Chappo,” the Drug Lord King, made his second daring escape from a Mexican prison.  Before he was caught, he tweeted threatening messages to a candidate for the U.S. presidency. 

This is the year that an election defied all logic and all the polls.  Nobody thought that it could happen.  The entire world was shocked.  People voted without considering the serious ramifications.  Immediately, people wanted a “do-over.”  The voters in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (Brexit!)

Oops!  This slipped my mind.  The People Choice Awards were held this year.  Hillary Clinton won!  She received 2.8 million more votes than her runner-up, but our Founding Fathers knew best 240 years ago when they said, “That doesn’t matter.” 

Now we have a man calling for unity of the American people.  This man represents everything that the normal America abhorred in the past.  He unabashedly advised Hillary Clinton supporters to “accept their failure,” and “stop scapegoating external factors.”  He further stated, “You need to learn how to lose gracefully.”  This, from a man who punishes anyone who disagrees with him—Vladimir Putin.

In 2017, I feel Americans should stop sweating the small stuff that does nothing to protect our country or affect our lives, and speak out more about the big stuff. 

This is my third New Year’s Column.  I would like to thank all my faithful readers for your support and kind words.  I would also like to thank Editor, Will Davis, for giving me a voice that is often (if not always) contrary to his ideology.

P. S.  Did you notice I made it through this column without talking about the “elephant” in the room?

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