Endings, beginnings, aspirations and expectations

Endings, beginnings, aspirations and expectations

This week as I transitioned into living in 2018, I experienced a deep and visceral sensation that I am sitting stationary on a huge existential conveyor belt being slowly but forever pulled forward on a great master timeline.  So many times in my life the month of January has been one of endings and beginnings, both literal and metaphorical.  I remember forty years ago the passing of my last living grandparent on New Year’s morning 1978.  The following day the Barry Switzer coached Oklahoma Sooners were dealt a humiliating drubbing in the Orange Bowl at the hands of the Lou Holtz coached Arkansas Razorbacks.  The current January is showing signs of continuing in such a tradition.  Although nobody close to me died this week, on New Year’s Night, my beloved Oklahoma Sooners managed to blow a 17-point lead and lost in double overtime to the Georgia Bulldogs in what is sure to be remembered as a Rose Bowl classic.  That 54 to 48 Georgia OT victory brought OU’s football season to a disappointing and heart-wrenching end.

It was also forty years ago this coming week that my journey began as a member of the U.S. Navy.  It was a cold and nasty Wednesday, 11 January 1978, the date that has followed me ever since as my “Pay Entry Base Date,” that I raised my right arm to a square and affirmed my Oath of Enlistment into the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program.  I vividly remember that morning in the Navy Recruiting Command office located in the new Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  My journey began in earnest on the last day of that very month as I departed Oklahoma City in the middle of a snow storm on my way to Navy Boot Camp in San Diego.  Some of you regular RRS readers may recall my Adult Reading of my Awkward Teenage Diary from May two years ago.  My active duty career in the U.S. Navy in fact began on that last day of January.  As my linked video reveals, that two months of Recruit Training and a few days into April 1978 represent the only real hiatus of successive daily writings in my Personal Daily Journal.  As was also revealed in the above video, I did manage to write down a few pertinent journal entries in my Boot Camp notebook.

Officially speaking, the last day of my career in the Naval Reserve was 31 January 2000 as I was transferred to the Retired Reserve the following day.  The significance of the month of January as beginnings and endings is not restricted to my Navy experience.  My storied Personal Daily Journal began on 1 January 1975.  My last marriage ended in divorce on 31 January 2011.  I could cite numerous other events in my life that began or ended in the month of January but the one cited above represent the most salient ones.  It seems I can never wake up on a January morning and not think about certain beginnings and endings.  Some of you may have noticed, I tend to get lost in writing about stuff the happens between the two.

We now find ourselves looking ahead in 2018 as citizens of a nation that is very different than what we expected it would be a mere year and a half ago.  In spite of so many things seemingly not going the way of the disenfranchised majority, there is an undeniable growing sense that a tipping point has been reached and the pendulum of ideas is beginning to swing back in our favor.  As the high water mark of Conservatism (whatever it may be defined as now) recedes, the rising tide of progressive ideas and social change will be felt in every precinct of every state in the Union.  Make no mistake about it, the only way through this time of inept leadership, toxic relationships, broken government and future uncertainty is by moving forward!  Forget about how brutally honest history will record how badly American democracy has been thoroughly assaulted with the intent to destroy it.  We must aspire to be the change-creating force we so desire to see as that same history will remember how the Winter Soldiers rose to the occasion and how they performed in the face of a bonafide internal national crisis.  To paraphrase Thomas Paine, these are the times that try men’s, women’s and every democracy lover’s souls!  Even now there is nothing new under the sun.  It is amazing to see how much a motivated soul is capable of when they are handed no other viable option but success.  I would love to see that motivation and enthusiasm to continue to rise and keep rising as we move toward the November General Election.

In my lifetime there have been many who were instilled with the meme delivered from the pulpit, Expect A Miracle!  A miracle would sure be nice but if every single Democratic candidate for legislative, state or Congressional office makes a sound case with more voters than their incumbent or challenging opponent then the result will speak all the volume needed.  We should expect that in the 2018 November Election every single Republican, incumbent or challenger, to be opposed by a motivated Democrat.  We should expect every single campaign to have its own unique issues and obstacles but moreover we should expect every one of them to be met with a well thought out and sound strategy and a maximum effort exerted to reach every registered voter on the rolls.  As was stated above, there is nothing new under the sun or for that matter the moon or the stars either.  The means to halt the deconstruction of the American nation as we have known it exists well within those who feel the calling to push back.  All we have to do is rise to the occasion.  Welcome to living in America in 2018!

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