Jan 5, 2018
by Zoë Tummillo, Communications Concepts
I haven’t figured out – yet – why the January column always seems more challenging than the other months put together!
I suspect it’s because the end of one year and the beginning of a new one inspires both looking back and projecting forward – and that can get really dicey.
Looking back over 2017 is risky! From several angles, its amazing political chaos is a mandate for pretty serious 2018 projections! I don’t want to miss a single heartbeat of the DC shenanigans unfolding almost minute by minute; can’t afford to miss a trick. Add in the escalating environmental crises, poverty, hunger and terrorism threats, and who can, in good conscience, afford to forget for the holidays? There simply is not enough tinsel to out-bling it or loud enough bells to drown it out. It seems that I spent a lot of energy being angry – even outraged – in 2017, about politics alone. Even wrote a few more of my meager $10 & $15 checks than usual...
This is no argument for seeing only the dark side. Speaking for myself, without those wonderful interludes of natural beauty, friendships, love of family, pride of community and celebrations of faith and hope – where would the strength and motivation come from to fight those other fights?
Nevertheless, quandary sneaks in from time to time and jars us from any possible Utopian blurr. One’s mind gets wrapped around frustrations of how and why to act or help or just make some difference, someway. (And there’s my father’s voice again reminding me to make a difference through what’s close at hand.)
Looking forward from 2017 provides a lot of challenges! I started to consider taking on the “Me, too” subject that seems to have erupted with startling numbers and deafening volume. Then...I got all tangled up in the arguments concerning what – exactly – qualifies as “sexual harassment?” Is good old, good-natured flirting in jeopardy now, having been equated to prurient groping? And how can anyone dare to imply that those two are in any way similar to actual sexual violence, rape and debauchery?
Then there are the stupid questions like: “Why did they wait so long to speak up? Why now? Isn’t it just being politically opportune? “ (...questions asked by individuals completely and obviously clueless and uninformed about the devastating dynamics and pressures on such victims – their lack of options, choices and even courage at the time of such assaults...) It didn’t seem to be a good idea to write that column until I could take a deep breath and better organize my thoughts.
I got pretty far along in another direction thinking once again about the phenomenon of the massive impacts of electronics in early childhood education. I’ve been doing a little survey to see how many children, under or about 12 years of age, I could observe reading a book! Boy, have I been disappointed! Yet, on the other hand, it seems that hardcopy books are gaining ground again, and the boom in digital books seems to be slowing! All the bookstores I visited looking for gifts were booming! The problem is old as the hills, in my opinion, and is really about the difference between “and” and “either-or.” It happens every time some new-fangled delight comes along! Throw away the familiar and embrace (unconditionally) the shiny new object! Later...
And that brought me to you-know-what! Back to politics and the Clown-in-Chief’s little sleight-of-hand strategy to hopefully distract us from whatever heat is currently bearing down on him... He just tweets his spotlight on something else.
So, that’s how I got around my focus dilemma – I talked about it. And that just leads me back to Farewell to your 2017 and whatever joy or tears came your way. And Hello to 2018 – we’ll fight the good fights if they come our way. And they will.
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