Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Now that 2013 is upon us and the fiscal cliff has been averted, I guess we can all breathe easier. The financial experts on CNN estimated that the average American family would have had to pay around $3,000 more in federal income taxes in 2013 if the legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff had not been signed late on New Year’s Eve. The House of Representatives still has to approve the whole thing, but it is expected to pass in time.
Does this aversion to financial disaster mean that we can have hope for 2013? Folks, you always need to have hope. The rash of gun violence that followed the Sandy Hook massacre showed that we still have a lot of work to do. There are some sick people out there, and we have our fair share of sick people in Lockport. Some of these sick people need to be locked up, but others need help.
It is pretty obvious to me that the growing lack of trust we are all showing each other is starting to affect the way our society behaves. There was a time when sick people were points of concern for caring people in their neighborhoods. I can understand the desire to go into our shells and hope the bad people go away, but it doesn’t work like that. The more we care about each other, the better things get. The wider the gap gets between each of us, the worse that things get.
But there is plenty of hope for 2013. We can work together to right the wrongs we have done and try to make the world a better place. If you are a parent, then stop and think about what kind of world you are leaving your children. If that does not want you to get more involved in making things better, then I don’t know what will.
If I had a message of hope for 2013, it would be that we need to focus on the positive and devalue the negative. When someone shoots innocent people in a movie theater, we need to focus on the victims and ignore the shooter. We need to care about the innocent people that have had their lives permanently altered just because they went to the movies and let the perpetrator rot in hell. That goes for every single one of the perpetrators. I don’t care what their names are and I don’t want to hear their life stories. I care about the victims and I care about stopping the flow of tragedy in our country. You should care about it as well.
As you read this, you may want to reach out and hug the people that you care most about. If we do not change the way things are going, then those people may not be there tomorrow. If you don’t think it can happen to you and those you love, then you may want to talk to the countless victims of senseless violent crime in this country.
There used to be a taboo associated with violent crime that prevented most people from going over the edge. That taboo seems to have disappeared. We need to bring it back and give violent crime the stigma it deserves.
I’m sorry, this is pretty depressing. I cannot help it. Let’s face it; 2012 did not exactly end with butterflies and rainbows. But that does not mean that 2013 needs to start off on a bad note. I guess I am appealing to everyone to take the personal initiative to make their own slice of the world a better place. If we pay more attention to our kids and take more responsibility for the challenges in our own lives, then the world becomes a better place.
We all experience personal tragedy. Unfortunately, it is part of living. But without tragedy, there cannot be the euphoria that comes with good fortune. When we are done mourning the loss of loved ones, it becomes time to focus on those that still surround us. Pick up the phone and call a relative you have not spoken to in a while. Get on Facebook and make connections to family members you have not seen in years. It is easy to do, and the lasting effects can be wonderful.
I do have a message of hope for 2013, but it is up to you guys to give it strength. My family is taking the steps to make 2013 a better year than 2012. If you take the time to do the same thing, then we should be able to reflect on 2013 and call it the year that we took back our world from the evil that tried to take it over.
Don’t let the boogeyman win. Don’t wish for a happy and prosperous 2013 – go out and make it happen.George N Root III is a Lockport resident and purveyor of hope for the coming year. His column still appears every Wednesday, thanks to the patient editors at the Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org where he fields all hate mail as well as personal messages of reflection and glad tidings.