Monday, December 29, 2008

Resolutions 2009

Why do people make New Year's resolutions? It's as if starting some new behavior or stopping a destructive habit is somehow easier on January first as opposed to any other day of the year. Many people make these resolutions, if not on paper, at least somewhere in the back of their mind.

Let us turn now from the world of micro to macro, the bigger picture. I would like to propose a few New Year's resolutions for Yolo County. Here they are, in no apparent order.

Get to know your neighbors. This is important. As we become more mobile, moving, changing jobs, we have become detached from our neighborhoods. You will be less likely to become angry or hold a grudge over a barking dog or start a sprinkler war with someone if you know them as a person and not just the guy on the other side of the fence. This does take some responsibility on your end. Not everyone wants to hear your stereo blasting in your garage at 6am on Saturday or 11:30 on a Wednesday night. If you are considerate towards others, you will be amazed at how easy it is to make friends.

Watch each other’s kids. This also gets back to the first resolution. If one of my neighbors saw one my children doing something dangerous or just stupid, like riding a bicycle off the roof of the house onto a mattress, I would hope they would call me and let me know. If they know my kids and I know theirs, we can all watch out for one another. This is how it worked when I was a kid. Now we see our neighbor's kids driving down street like they are playing a street-racing video game and we just shake our heads and go about our business.

Do more with less. This goes for everyone across the board, but especially for government agencies. I have sat through a few budget meetings and everyone who comes to the microphone tells the county supervisors or city council how important their program is, and how they could not possibly make any cuts. Really? I have yet to hear anyone say, this program was started with the best of intentions, but we really are not making a big impact in our community. We are helping a few people, but we have an office full of people that serve a tiny percentage of the county or city's population. I would love to hear that at a public meeting. Look at every program and ask if you would start that same program in these hard times if it did not exist already. If you would not start it up right now, you don't really need it.

This one is a little touchy, but here it goes anyway. Let‘s not segregate ourselves, let's become more united as people. It seems the schools teach our kids to embrace and celebrate everyone's culture and recognize people's differences to help understand them. Is this making our community better? I am not sure. Focusing on culture and ethnicity leads to divisions, and then subdivisions, sub groups and ultimately into gangs. It may be time to rethink this process. How about this, lets focus on coming together as Americans. We can all do this, regardless of what color we are, what religion, or background we have. Your heritage and ethnicity is a part of who you are, and you are part of what makes up America. You can be proud of your heritage, as I am, but you should have only one flag on your car or your home, that flag should be the symbol of hope, opportunity and freedom, it should be red, white and blue. We need less pluribus, more Unum.

We should disagree without being disagreeable. Being a conservative in this county, whenever I make my views known in a crowd, I can always count on someone calling a fascist or right-wing nut job. They won't listen to your logic or reasoned point of view, they don't hear anything you say. You are just a republican apologist, and Bush is Hitler, and the war is illegal, etc. Let’s try to remember that we all want America to succeed, right? At least I hope we all do. I will listen to your point of view, and if it makes sense and it can be backed up with data, I am willing to embrace anything that works. Try to do the same.

I could go on for quite a while, but I’ll let you get back to you coffee,
Happy New Year Yolo County.

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