Another New Year

Earlier this week I was reading an article in the Smithsonian magazine about the year 1908.  Wow, what a amazing story!  In the article I was reminded that Wilbur and Orville Wright were still trying to fly more than 2 hours at a time at the end of that year!  Automobiles were toys for the rich and famous – well, that’s still true – however, in 1908 the average person did not have one and most weren’t sure they were a good idea!   Henry Ford would bring out the Model T in 1908 and change so much of our world.  Thousands of people were killed each year in work-related accidents;  children worked long hours in dangerous condition; there were vast numbers of immigrants coming into the US from both the east and the west.  In fact, in the larger cities, gangs terrorized the streets – remember the movie, Gangs of New York.   Racism was part of the culture – lynchings were taking place in the midwest and the south.  There was extreme poverty and extreme wealth.  And with all that, there were major strides and innovations in technology – radio, automobiles, airplanes, synthetic materials – and public awareness – women had begun their struggle for the vote and more equality, child labor laws were being introduced, to name just a few issues.  Interestingly, oil was discovered in the Middle East and rights to drill immediately claimed by the United Kingdom.   The world was getting smaller – it took days and weeks for news to spread rather than months to years. Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come and yet how little has changed.  As we move into 2008, we live in a much smaller world – it takes only seconds for news to spread around the world – and yet one where there is still fighting for control over blocks of the neighborhood.  Women and children still work very long hours in very poor conditions – they’re just not in our neighborhood mostly!  Racism still exists – for some more subtly; for others, wrapped up in homeland security.  Advances in technology are moving so fast that it is almost impossible to keep up.   And public awareness is expanding – more and more individuals are reaching out through interfaith activities, disaster relief, environmental conservation, and a call for peace. Working together as an integrated whole – accepting and celebrating our rich diversity – we can make 2008 more than just another year.  There are several groups in the community that are working for cross-cultural dialogue.  Reach out – get involved.   Make connections with local groups working to conserve our natural resources – recycling, energy conservation.  Help build affordable housing locally.  Find time to meditate.  Think outside the box at home, at your work, at your church, synagogue or mosque.  Ask why.  Stand on top of your desk to get a different perspective. We can make it a year of unity and peace!  Let’s do it!

2 Responses to “Another New Year”

  1. Darlene S Says:

    Dear Toni,

    Wonderful entry. So true with the information, for the past day news from Pakistan hits CNN almost as it happens. I enjoy reading your blog. I printed out you longer posts and read them on a flight over Christmas. Keep blogging, I look forward to reading more! Best to you this season! Darlene S.

  2. Toni Says:

    Darlene
    thanks! One of my resolutions for the new year is more focus on the blog!!
    Affirming for you all a joyous and prosperous New Year!
    Toni

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