As we wish all our North Coast neighbors and subscribers around the world a happy and safe new year, we cannot help but look ahead to 2018.
What will the year bring?
On the national level, it is an easy prediction that the political rifts that have divided the nation will continue. Can we do anything about that here?
The turmoil that our nation has endured since the divisive presidential campaign and the outcome of the 2016 election is exacerbated by social media, which either deifies or vilifies Donald Trump and his like-minded party Republican colleagues in Congress.
The ugly tone is not one any of us would choose. The longer it lasts, the worse it gets.
On the Democratic Party side, Hillary Clinton remains in many people’s crosshairs, though she holds no office whatsoever. And President Obama’s name is besmirched and his accomplishments derided on a daily basis by people motivated by political opposition and the naked racism that continues to divide this country.
At some point our divided country needs to come together — and to do so it must re-establish a positive tone for communications. We’re not even close to that right now. Beyond tarnishing our reputation in the eyes of the world, it’s also stopping us from getting vital things done.
One speaker to a North Coast fraternal organization last year called for civility and offered some valuable definitions. For him, civility means politeness, showing tolerance, having patience with neighbors with whom you disagree, not talking about people behind their backs, and following the “Golden Rule.”
It echoed a concept exemplified by Robert Fulghum in his memorable 1986 work, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
His book was subtitled “Uncommon Thoughts On Common Things” and one of its classic lines was, “Ignorance and power and pride are a deadly mixture, you know.”
Yes. We do know.
So, how about we start a campaign for civility here? It has to begin somewhere; why not here?
The North Coast is a wonderful place to live, work, get an education and enjoy the bounty of the Northwest. It is also a place where neighbors help neighbors, despite their differences. Our recent 10-year anniversary recollections of the area’s reaction to the 2007 Great Coastal Gale confirmed that.
How about we take Fulghum’s admonitions and turn the words into action? We should reach out to those with differences, and maybe try listening instead of just reacting. If we disagree, let’s keep the tone polite. 2018 can be the year for that. Monday is a great day to begin as we turn the calendar over for a fresh year, a new start, though, really, why wait until then?
Speeches and declarations might put on record the direction we jointly believe we should go. But they are useless unless they are followed by positive action.
As the writer said, “It doesn’t matter what you say you believe — it only matters what you do.”
Let’s try it.
We suspect we have more in common than appears at first glance.
Let’s ring in a happy new year in 2018.
Let’s work toward a civil new year.