Friday, February 11, 2011

My Christmas List

I have previously mentioned in past columns that I love this time of year. Christmas is definitely my favorite season and holiday. I start listening to Christmas music well before Thanksgiving. So, I thought it appropriate to share my Christmas list so that all who read this might contribute to bringing some or all of it to fruition.

Given this Christmas season is much like the last couple, my list does not include material things or things that possess tremendous monetary value. My list does include wishes and aspirations that would definitely make my everyday life better, but more importantly the wishes would drastically improve the collective world that we all live in.

Although I wish for world peace, I know that in reality the world has never been peaceful. As long as we humans occupy this earthly planet with all of our greedy, envious, and me first attitudes, world peace will be elusive. So my Christmas wish is that each of us would do all within our powers to create peace where we live, work, and play. Each of us has tremendous opportunities daily to quiet the noise and to calm the turmoil – but we must choose to do so.

Although I wish for and pray for every man, woman, and child to have adequate food to eat, I know that many are hungry. Through the efforts of so many in our community like Providence ministries, the Salvation Army, the local network of churches, and many, many more - those needing food will receive a meal or two. My Christmas wish is that we be mindful that the need exists, and that we will do all we can to assist those who feed our neighbors.

Although I wish for leadership, vision, and good governance from our elected officials, they (like us) are mere human. Most work diligently for the good of all of us. Many work to promote their own agenda or their parties agenda without regard to what is beneficial to those they govern. Their agenda is put ahead of the people’s agenda. They act unethically, profit from their positions, and in some cases actually break the law.

My Christmas list is that those in office spend this magical and special time of year reflecting on why they ran for office in the first place. I would ask that they step back evaluate their deliberations, their actions, and their votes during the past year, and truly grade themselves based on how they benefitted the jurisdiction that elected them. At the end of the day did their decisions improve the lives of those they represent?

And as it relates to those in public office, I also wish that each would serve honorably. Notice I did not say or ask that they serve without mistake or that they always make the right decisions. Whether a decision is right or wrong is more often than not subjective. But in my opinion, evaluating one’s behavior as being honorable or not is never subjective.

Next month, we begin another legislative session. This session brings many new players to the process – a new Governor, a one-year at the helm Speaker of the House and one of the largest freshmen classes of representatives and senators in recent history. Our state is in dire need of visionary, compassionate, and honorable leadership. As our state continues trying to do more (or the same) with less, true leadership is paramount. My Christmas wish is that Governor-Elect Deal, Lt. Gov. Cagle, and Speaker Ralston will provide this needed leadership.

At the national level, our leaders face an even more daunting task than our state leaders do. Although I wish the federal government had never usurped powers not given to it by our constitution, that train has left the station. The practice of deficit spending has reached epidemic proportions that threaten to bankrupt our once mighty nation. Imagine being the President and having to listen to other world leaders lecture you on getting your financial house in order. My Christmas wish is that the recent deficit reduction plan not be totally ignored but it becomes the basis for renewed dialogue about the future of our great nation.

In spite of all that is not right with our community, our state, or our nation, I am so grateful that I live where I live. The greater Dalton community has become my family’s home. We are Georgians and we are Americans. Our blessings outweigh our short-comings. And we treat each other as neighbors not strangers. So even in these difficult times I can celebrate because of the Hope this season brings. And as long as any of my neighbors is need, my purpose is known.

From my family to yours, I wish all a blessed and Merry Christmas!

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