I was really hoping to have some nice relaxing time the last week of 2017 as it’s been a pretty stressful and difficult year both on a personal level and in my business. However, the fates and Microsoft intervened and this last week’s been even more stressful than usual. My main office computer was getting pretty old as I purchased it in December 2009. I had been intending to upgrade fairly soon, but Microsoft forced my hand with the latest Windows 10 update.
To make a long story short, the last update fried my Office 2007 package forcing me to get a new system quicker than I had intended. Being a financial advisor I run a lot of customized and special software. The last week of the year has been spent changing my systems over and spending a lot of my time talking with tech support people at the various software companies.
So I decided to take a little hike today to clear my head and to test out some new hiking boots that I purchased a few weeks ago. I found a trail and headed up the foothills into our local Wasatch Mountains. I was also testing out a new photography backpack that I purchased last summer and haven’t really had time to use under a heavy load. So I decided I would load my photo gear into the new bag and give it a good tryout too.
Anyway, the trail was quite a bit muddier than I thought, but I did manage to give my new boots a good breaking in. (Although now they’re too muddy to wear until they dry out, and I can brush them off.) My photo backpack worked wonderfully as well.
I have to confess that the hike began to make me ill as I was heading up the trail. I was not ill because of the altitude or because of the exertion, but because of what I was seeing and what those sites were pushing into my brain. As you can see from the photos, which I took today by the way, there isn’t much know in the Wasatch Mountains. And our water is directly related to how much snowpack we have in the winter season.
So what was making me sick?
Everywhere I could see there were stakes for new roads which means new housing and ever more people smashing into our foothills crowding out our wildlife and sucking up more of our natural resources. Every year since we’ve lived in Highland (since October 2002) the city has told us that there has been a water shortage, and they are constantly on us to conserve water. And yet here they are pushing new roads 2 miles up into the foothills from anywhere else. Why do our leaders appear to have a total and complete lack of common sense and decency in regards to the use of our natural resources?
Our political leaders in this state constantly complain about the lack of water, and yet everywhere you look there is more building — more roads, more homes, more concrete, and more people! If we truly have water issues then why are we not putting a moratorium on new building in the state?
The insanity is not just local. It appears that our country has turned itself upside down. We no longer follow our values or our core principles. We are one of the few nations in the world to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, and yet we’re supposed to be a leader and an inspiration to all other nations. What kind of an example are we setting?
There’s a copper statue of a lady holding a torch in the harbor between New York City and New Jersey. She was given to us as a gift from our friends in France as a reminder of the values that we once held dear — freedom and opportunity for all regardless of race, creed, color, or background. The words on Lady Liberty’s plaque remind us of these principles. And yet our new leader is doing everything in his power to forsake every principle upon which this great nation was founded. We are turning our backs on the needy unless they are white. We’re deporting children who are legal US citizens, but are too young to be separated from their families who came here without proper authorization. What kind of the nation separates families from each other and pushes out its own young citizens?
Last month Mr. Trump desecrated another of our founding values — protecting our natural resources and preserving the wonders of our country for all of the next generations to come. He unilaterally and illegally removed national monument status from almost 2,000,000 acres here in Utah alone. Oh yes, this matter will be tied up in the courts for years to come, and likely these actions will not stand. But that is not really the point. The point is that once again we as a nation have forsaken our founding values and our cherished principles.
I could go on with this list, pages and pages long, about the problems that I am seeing, but that is not the point of this post. The point is simple.
At the end of 2017 our great nation stands on the edge of a cliff. We are looking into a great abyss which is the whole left from the abandonment of our principles and our values. The United States of America has never been a perfect nation, and it probably will never be perfect. But we have always had a goal, a common goal among all of our leaders, to strive toward that ultimate perfection. That is what made America great.
Many of our founding fathers were slave owners, and yet we found it in ourselves to banish this horrific practice less that 100 years after our founding. And in 2008, we proudly elected our first black president. And yet here we are nine years later already forsaking that great progress. We have a decision to make in this country, and it is the most important decision that our country has ever faced.
The decision is this: what path are we going to take into 2018 and beyond? Are we going to get back on the right path and follow our principles and values that have guided this country so well in its 250+ years of history? Or are we going to continue down this dark road forsaking all of our founding principles and values?
I end 2017 as a torn person. I am truly deeply troubled and deeply ashamed at what has happened in our great nation this last 12 months. I think about my grandchildren and about the kind of world that they may inherit. What will they think of us in 50 years? What will their children think of us in 100 years? What kind of a world are we going to leave them? So on the one hand I am feeling very disparaged and down.
And yet I see a lot of hope in so many people that I encounter. I see hope in my fellow bloggers. I see hope in the younger generation. I see hope in so many people that have fought so hard against what is happening in our country today. These people are from all walks of life, not just politicians. They’re working men and women who have taken time out of their days to stand in protest and shout loudly for the principles upon which this great nation was founded. There are so many people in our WordPress community that are truly great thinkers. This gives me hope for our future as a planet. When I think about what I saw today on my hike, I also have to stop and think about so many of you out there who are fighting so hard to try and make this a better world for all of us.
The last thing I want to say today is that I am very grateful for comradery and kinship that I have found in our WordPress community. I want to thank every one of you for the inspiration that you give me every time I read a post. And I truly hope that 2018 will be the year in which we began to find our path back to where we need to be.