New Year, 2018

Was 2017 a good year? What is a good year?

While speaking about Donald Trump’s candidacy for President, CBS’ Chairman Les Moonves answered that question: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS … The money’s rolling in and this is fun … I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.” [Politico, 2/29/2016]

What is good?

If your neighbor often expresses vicious bombastic opinions about people, but with a smile or a laugh, is that good? What if your neighbor is Kathy Griffin, Stephen Colbert, or Samantha Bee?

A common adage is “Your perception is your reality.” What is your perception — what do you see as good?

Mother Theresa saw her life as good. How many see that same life as good for themselves?

Why do we allow our daily perceptions to be controlled by the likes of Les Moonves, CBS, Kathy Griffin, Stephen Colbert, and Samantha Bee? Watching violence hardens us. Doesn’t watching them harden us too?

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”. [“As You Like It”, William Shakespeare] When we watch television, we are watching the professional players — the players who make their fortunes selling anything that sells. We are the amateur players, buying what they sell, hook, line, and sinker. Is that good? Is that good for our children? Is that good for America?

2017 further exposed America as a “Tale of Two Cities”. 2017 further exposed the demise of America’s Fourth Estate and of America’s political institutions and cultural institutions. Did these exposures make 2017 a bad year or a good year?

2017, however, was more than political. It was personal too. Waking up in 2018 and being able to thank God for our blessings makes 2017 a good year. Doesn’t it?

Stephen B. Benisch, January 1, 2018

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