After much hemming and hawing, I made my decision. I will continue to write it, so long as I have at least one interested reader. I will promise quarterly articles, four per year. I will try to do more, but no promises here.
The above question put me in mind of the coming new year, and caused me to look back at the old. 2014 was a blur. Yet a descriptive term comes immediately to my mind: enurement––as in acceptance, as in tolerating, as in giving up, as in thickening our skins and our consciences.
This past year, we as a globe, we as people have decided to accept more horrifying circumstances than in any other year, to my mind. We have become inured (or enured) to violence––whether from weather, or murder, or war.
This past year it seems we chose to accept our fate: to accept a useless and self-centered Congress, to accept random shootings on a weekly basis, to accept intolerance within and between religions, to accept being governed by the power of money and self-interest. We declined to make the hard choices, to make the necessary sacrifices.
It has been said from antiquity that every journey begins with the first step. That step may be a faltering,unsure step, but a step is a step, and the next one is too. President Obama’s step toward medicines and doctors and care for every ailing person may be akin to the first step of a bull in a china shop, but it is a step. The first step toward an effective immigration policy may have been slightly backward, but it was a step. The first step toward improving relationships with a country we have kept hostile on our borders for way too many years may be uneven, but it is a step.
Rather than holler when steps lack ballet-like grace, shouldn’t we instead complain if a first step is never taken? Shouldn’t we be upset with those who prevent others from taking a first step?
And so I ask: Where was that first step toward preventing angry and disturbed people from shooting crowds of innocents, or policemen, or each other? Where was that first step toward movement away from oil and gas to a more beneficial energy? Where was that first step toward education to meet the specific needs of people in their own communities rather than the one-size-fits-all dictates of central government? And where was that first step toward understanding that ISIS is not the crisis, but rather our unwillingness to understand and tolerate intricate political situations and the multi-layered cultures of others before wading in?
Here is the challenge: to take my word for 2014, enurement, or inurement, and turn it into a different word for 2015, ensurement. Let’s ensure that first steps get taken, that those who shout down first steppers are shouted down themselves, that we can all find the courage to take first steps ourselves.
Well, interested reader, there it is. You asked for it. Yes, there will be more of these columns, because the fodder upon which they feed will not disappear. But if by some miracle it does, I will gladly relinquish the pen.