It was Oprah Winfrey who said, "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right."
The past year did provide both polarizing and perilous times throughout our planet and even among us in our protected Valley. And so it is time again to resolve "to get it right" in this new year. What follows are some suggested resolutions to help reduce polarization among peoples and to help reduce the likelihood of an increasingly perilous future. They are presented with the understanding that what we resolve to change also includes rejections of behaviors that work against such change.
• I resolve to live up to the standard set in our Declaration of Independence that affirms a divinely decreed dignity, worth and equality in every individual. I will therefore reject conversation or processes that use racist or ethnic resentments, religious or political fears, or any other behaviors that diminish another human or human group.
• I resolve to renew my efforts to work against any oppression based upon sex, race, gender, identity or social class. I therefore reject misogyny, sexual harassment, the mistreatment, abuse and assault of women as well the oppression of any other person.
• I resolve to demonstrate in my living that truth is morally central to our public lives and to my personal life. I therefore reject the lying that is infecting our political and civil lives. Consistent lying by our nation's highest leaders may change the moral expectations within our culture, may reduce accountability required for a civil society, and may even change the behavior of families and children.
• I resolve to seek justice and protection for those who are poor and vulnerable, and for those defined as oppressed, as strangers, as outsiders, or as otherwise considered to be marginal. I therefore reject the policies and language of those in leadership and others who demean and abandon the most vulnerable among us, especially children.
• I resolve to remind our elected officials that they are called to public service, not public despotism; called to protect the checks and limits and balances of democracy and to do so with humility and civility. I therefore reject any autocratic political leadership and authoritarian rule, any disrespect for the rule of law, any attempts to impede the equal importance of our three branches of government, and any attempts to replace civility with dehumanizing hostility toward opponents.
• I finally resolve to see the world and all its human inhabitants as members of the same species with inherent worth and dignity. While I confess to a patriotic love for this country, I nonetheless reject xenophobia and/or ethnic nationalism because violent conflict, deadly diseases, global poverty and weapons of mass destruction in some places influence all places.
I hope you will agree that working toward accomplishing these resolutions will aid us all in "getting it right" in 2019. Happy New Year!