On this silent New Year’s eve morning, I may be one of the few who is sorry to leave 2016 behind.  The year, alas, went by way too fast and I wish I could have spent more time with family and friends, being outdoors with students, participating in additional habitat restoration projects, and remembering more of the joys of Peace Village.  And I sorely wish that the promising students of our country (an analogy for all of us) could have at least met our limitless potential for good, but instead we were too easily swayed to the dark side of disunity and discord. Reading numerous vitriolic outpourings from friends who normally agree on 99 out of 100 issues bash each others candidate was only one example from last year’s period of utter insanity.  Oh, if we could only have a “re-do”, a second chance to re-live 2016!

Immediately after earthquakes and hurricanes have wreaked their damage, seemingly everyone comes together to help one another, searching for survivals and offering any and all kinds of assistance.  Last year, we inexplicably invited similarly destructive political forces to overwhelm our forces of values and trust and caring, but unlike natural disasters, there is no equivalent to the Red Cross and National Guard to assist us now.  What will be the impacts of the political after shocks? Who is picking up the rubble from November?  Clearly the answer has to be all of us.

One noble response occurred locally only a few days after the election when in Hood River, Oregon’s, hundreds turned out, arm in arm and heart to heart to display unity and community resolve, and to celebrate what we have in common.  On a larger scale, perhaps Standing Rock is also a model on how we can re-invent togetherness by peacefully supporting a peaceful cause through deep outpourings of financial and material aid, and as important feeling a part of a noble cause.

In the end, what we do individually and collectively in the approaching uncertain year will help set the stage on what ultimately happens to people of color, immigrants, and natural lands and systems.  Whether focusing on either the 99 things we agree upon with those close to us, or with some folks who we may mostly vociferously oppose, starting with even the one bond out of a 100, is a resolution I hope can become unfaltering and resolute.

“We are here
We are here for all of us
We are here for all of us
That’s why we are here, why we are here”  Alicia Keys