Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year, One and All!

And so we say good-bye to another year passed. I can't say that I'm not
more than just a little relieved. On a personal level, this past year
was a continuation of much sadness and loss. On a broader level, that
would seem to hold somewhat true as well. We just closed out another
year of mounting casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan with no end in
sight. There are 48 million Americans without health care and those
numbers seem to be rising. The death and horror continues in Darfur with
nary a mention. And our own unique beloved city of New Orleans still
sits in ruins with no operating hospitals within its city limits and no
electricity or drinking water in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Of course, we were dealt a few new cards as well. Perhaps most important
was the passage of the Military Commissions Act. The little gem that
threw the "quaint" Geneva Conventions Act and Habeas Corpus right out
the window. Yes folks, we can now be labeled enemy combatants and
imprisoned without right to trial or even the right to be informed of
what the charges are against us. Not to mention, the US gets to decide
what we consider torture to be, regardless of the precedent set before
us and, therefore, can administer it as we see fit. Such a fine example
for others to follow.

Despite the aforementioned and other disappointments we've encountered
this year, I do remain cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. After
all, we did end it with a ray of hope. The overwhelming response to the
current administration's deeds were stated clearly by the voters in
November. A sizable feat considering what has become of our electoral
system. The turnout was in proportions to a presidential election year,
something seldom seen in the mid-terms. Republicans lost control of both
the Congress and the Senate and we will soon return to a two party
system. Not a single Democratic incumbent lost their seat. Incredible!

So what does all this mean? Obviously, that remains to be seen. One
thing we do know is that despite what we keep hearing from the talking
heads, the Democrats do have a plan. And while I disagree that it was
the correct thing for Nancy Pelosi to say that the option of impeachment
is off the table, I do keep in mind that the Dems haven't yet taken
control and have had absolutely no power until now and I'm willing to
give them a little time to see what damage they can undo. At the very
least, the first 100 hours that Speaker Pelosi has promised us:


I consider this to be the Democrats' New Year's resolution. So, as
you're vowing to keep your own, please consider one more. Write or call
your elected representatives and let them know you expect them to follow
through on their promises and keep an eye on how they vote on the issues
at hand. Tell when you are unhappy with the way they represent you but
also thank them and give them support when they do what's right.