Hopefully 2020 will bring to America a change in our attitude toward Mother Earth.
While in Venice this past fall, I wound up having to wade through 18 inches of water to navigate Piazza de Marco (Saint Mark's Square). The last time I was there in the late '80's - there was no flooding which now has become commonplace. The great thing about the Italians, they don't question whether or not climate change is a factor - they know it is and will now provide curriculum regarding the subject in schools nationwide. What was sad for me to experience was the reaction of my travel colleagues who didn't want to hear a word about climate change or Greta Thunberg who recently was named Time Magazine's person of the year. You couldn't help but be aware of Greta with all the students in the streets carrying signs with her face and chanting, "Green New Deal!" You would think that my colleagues, all college educated professionals would have found Greta's initiative worthy of praise for a young person committed to making a difference. Instead all they wanted to do was make fun of her.
As the only person who appreciated Greta's efforts, the others made it clear they didn't want to hear a word of my take on a young woman who has obviously made enough of an impression to garner what an older adult coveted but failed to get - their picture on the cover with the accolades that go with being "Person Of The Year."
And so, sometimes it's best to maintain silence and let others do the talking. Maybe it was KHARMA but while on a water taxi our group was joined by people from Sweden who actually wanted to know how the Americans felt about their leader. My colleagues were deliriously joyous in sharing their Sargent Pepper praises for a guy who loves to promote himself on his twitter feed which became the very next topic from the Swedes. They didn't dismiss anything said by the enthusiastic Americans but wondered why I had remained quiet. "Do you feel the same?" I smiled and said, "No. But I also know best not to discuss politics in their presence." The largest of the Swedes persisted asking me to share my perceptions. I smiled and then said, "Well, I'm not a fan, not because I necessarily disagree with all of his policy, but because he is a boorish crude insufferable soul who was caught defrauding students at his so called university and caught defrauding two different charities amounting to huge fines and on top of all that the man is not able to tell the truth even about the most simple of things...like where his father was born... is it really necessary to even lie about that?" My response elicited a laugh which made my travel colleagues uncomfortable. It is hard to defend that kind of behavior and they didn't even try. So the rest of the taxi ride was filled with how the Swedes felt about the man...how they wake up each morning wondering what idiotic thing will he tweet today, what stupid oafish thing will he say ?
But what I've found is that I can't give up on my family even if we disagree about a man that even they will admit at times says stupid stuff and acts rudely. It's just not worth losing those I love over a guy who will someday have to be accountable, if not in this world then in the next and with good luck gone soon.
That's why one must look at all the good that we as a people, as a country do on behalf of each other. Like when a number of neighbors decided to learn sign language because a three year mute in their midst wanted to share her day and they in turn wanted to listen - even if the communication was silently shared. Or how about the 90+ year old man who had outlived all of his family and was going to share Thanksgiving alone, only to find that a number of his neighbors had other plans of making them a part of their lives. We hear of stories like that everyday including the cop who instead of giving an indigent single mother a ticket, took the time to listen to her woes and provide Christmas gifts for her children which brought more than just a smile to her face...it brought her a sense of feeling that she wasn't alone and that someone cared. And when it comes to Mother Earth, there are plenty of Americans who are making a difference in protecting the environment, even if that means taking someone or some form of our government to court so that places of incredible beauty are not ruined by the greed of corporations that could care less what havoc they wreak once they are done with their industrial mining of mineral wealth.
Americans are some of the nicest people in the world, some of the most generous people in the world no matter who might tweet out epithets or mean spirited taunts. In 2020, let's just focus on those that GO DO GOOD and leave in the dust those who can't find it in their hearts to treat others who might be different with a bit of kindness. If we do that, then all that other nonsense won't make a difference when it passes, and it eventually will. In 2020 we can look with hope to bringing about change that will be good not only for Mother Earth but all our fellow Americans.
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