A song that I enjoy listening to at this time of year includes the lines: “I wish you a hopeful Christmas/I wish you a brave New Year.” The artist, Greg Lake, passed away in 2016.
The concept of “a brave New Year” has been much on my mind this past week.
The course of our nation has been shaped—altered, really—by fear. Even as we Americans tell ourselves how brave we are, we allow fear to move us in directions we never would have considered as a society.
Meanwhile, I try my best to advocate courage through example and words (see Courage).
Obviously, my small voice crying out against fear does little to quell the general public’s feelings, nor has it shamed the fear mongers in any apparent way. The trend of the last 16 years (at least) continues, and will likely worsen in the coming year.
Still, what can one do but to try to live by example?
Maybe no one notices or cares. Maybe the effort of one individual is too small to make a difference.
But maybe that’s not the point—maybe the personal satisfaction, the sense of freedom, and the peace of mind it brings makes the attempt—no matter how doomed to failure—worth it.
There’s more to it, though, than simply being brave. There’s also a question of whether or not a person contributes to the problem, becoming, in essence, a fear monger oneself! It’s all about keeping a positive attitude, thinking critically, and choosing one’s words judiciously.
It’s not easy, but it seems very worth pursuing in the coming year.
So, here’s wishing you a brave New Year!
(See also: A New Year Without Fear from 2010).