We make a big fuss when one year rolls over into another -- they sell tons of fireworks for the occasion here in Southern New Mexico -- but if we used a calendar other than the Roman one today would be just another day. (We also got the notion of empire from the Romans and you see what that did for us.)
Take away the fireworks, the hangovers from last night's parties and a few other silly conventions and what we've got is the same old screwed-up country, in the same old war-torn and hate-filled world that we had for the last 12 months or more. What, indeed, is "new" about this Happy New Year except the page in the calendar pad?
We're still the country where the biggest, most profitable retail giant in the history of money actually had a store that ran a food-donation drive for their impoverished employees.
We still have more jobless would-be workers than we can count, simply because so many of them have become so discouraged that they've quit looking and so disappeared from the official rolls of the unemployed. Roughly 3.5 workers for every joib that turns up -- most of which pay the minimum wage.
We're the same country that gleefully spends trillions of dollars fighting wars all over the globe, then periodically shuts down the government because of worries over its debt. The shutdown ends when our elected geniuses decide to punish the people who caused the debt -- the elderly, the poor, the children of the poor -- by taking pittances away from them and cutting the taxes of the wealthiest one per cent of us so that they can become much richer.
We're still the same country where benefits for 1.3 million of the unemployed were terminated by the party that, according to the most recent polls, voters want to control every part of government.
We're still the country where the government by gawd had better not pay for a woman to get a pill to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, but that same government by gawd better not try to keep guns out of the hands of any damned cockamamie jackass with a simmering hatred and a yen to massacre a schoolful of 8-year-olds.
We're the same country whose industries poison our air and water while compiling record profits and whining about "government controls" that no longer exist, that extract planet-stifling fossil fuels from our public lands while leaving toxic tailings behind. Where mythology and ignorance overrule science. Where rape victims got what they had coming and we're not racist but we stuff our prisons with people of color and hire corporations to starve them for profit. Feeding an adult male for less than a dollar a meal?
Look around today. What's different from two weeks ago? What reason is there to hope today that wasn't there four months ago? Resolve what you will but neither you nor anything around you is going to change in any meaningful way.
Happy New Year.
Or, as the unpunished war criminal Dick Cheney once told a citizen, "Go f--k yourself."