It has taken me longer than I though to get back to normal after the Christmas holidays, especially with Sue being away and having to cope with household and animal chores. I am not looking for sympathy, but I do have a greater appreciation for what Sue does every day to make our lives easier and what all overworked wives and mothers do for months and years on end.
One result has been fewer blog posts than my target of three or four a week, in addition to my excuse of household duties, I have been submitting guest posts to other blogs. More about that in a later post.
A few observations about events over the last few days:
I make no secret of being politically conservative, I am not a fan of US President Obama and believe he is one of the most divisive presidents the country has ever elected. However listening to his inauguration speech yesterday at the start of his second term I had to admire his speaking ability and that of his speech writers.
Of course, he is playing to the gallery of the liberal voters who re-elected him, but such are his speaking skills and ability to extract every ounce of emotion out of tragic events that it is not surprising that polls indicate people like him while still being disappointed by his lack of performance.
Which once again proves that we buy on emotion not logic. The sad part is, that he seems intent on driving a wedge between the job creators – business owners and entrepreneurs and the people who need jobs. It will be interesting to see how much more divided the country is at the end of his second term.
The huge fuss being made about enforcing a ban on “assault” rifles is a classic case of emotion overriding logic. According to statistics, rifles of all types, including so-called assault rifles accounted for 358 of the 8306 murders by all types of guns in 2010. (Source: wikipedia.) Enforcing existing or introducing new, restrictions will not address the real problems, will further alienate law-abiding gun owners and lead to more distrust of the government.
Of course it’s a fine sounding platform to drum up support by appealing to emotions still raw after recent tragic shootings.
It is not just political events in North America that are going to influence our lives in the year ahead. There is enough happening on the world stage to cause concern.
Events in Somalia, Mali and Algeria are interesting and those in Mali, Algeria and Nigeria tend to prove the law of unintended consequences.
There was jubilation amongst the more liberal leaders and commentators in the West at the start of the “Arab Spring”. In “Fiddling While Libya Burns” in March 2011, I wrote of my reservations about the West abandoning Mubarak of Egypt, one of its few allies in the region, then orchestrating the overthrow of Gaddafi. That both of them may well have deserved their fates does not change the fact that both countries are now considerably more unstable and hostile to the West under their new rulers.
The removal of Gaddafi in particular, has led to a flood of weapons and created a refuge for terrorists in a huge area of the Sahara. This has made it easier for these terrorists to bomb or set fire to churches full of Christians in Nigeria and take over half of Mali virtually unopposed
Now we are watching the start of the end game in Syria, with the almost certain prospect of another anti-West, fundamentalist Islamic ruling party, less freedom for its citizens and probably more brutality than the current regime.
Perhaps if we had protected Assad while squeezing him to abandon his shelling of civilian areas, most of the 60 000 Syrian deaths could have been averted, the country would not be in ruins and we would not be creating another potential haven for terrorists to plot more attacks against Western and Israeli targets.
It is one more example of the arrogance of the West in trying to impose our democratic system of government on countries that are not ready for it. To protect democracy with all its faults in our own countries, we may have to tolerate much harsher systems in others.
What does all this mean for us in the year ahead?
It means that we need to put extra effort into staying positive, not allowing the bad and unsettling news to make us despondent. We need to decide where to focus our attention, not get sucked into every emotion filled media drama.
As much as some of us may be concerned about the future of America over the next 4 years and the implications for other countries. If we are not US citizens there is not much we can do about it. it is not worth losing sleep over.
Events in the Middle East and Africa have a momentum that will carry them to a conclusion which may require the West to take more action to counter terrorist activities from and in, some of those countries, time will tell.
We need to discern between events that will have an effect on our lives, those that do need consideration and those that are not worth worrying about.
One thing I have already done is reduced my exposure to bad news. I have cancelled my daily newspaper subscription and just buy a Saturday paper with a good business supplement. I refuse to watch endless re-runs of emotion draining coverage of tragic events on TV. I watch an international news service once or twice a day for a few minutes to see if there is anything new happening. I am much more selective with what I read or watch on the Internet.
It is more important than ever that we take control of out own destinies. The world is changing and will continue to change. Now is the time to take stock of our skills and strengths and start leveraging them to build an independent future.Some of the unfolding events will create new opportunities. Will we be prepared to seize them?
What about you? How are you coping with the changes that are sweeping the world? Are you watching out for new opportunities?
Wishing you success.