---- — Squad meeting. Gather 'round. Take a knee. Listen up. Time for some new year reflections:
U.S. as in "us". The motto is E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one. Diversity is great. Unity is greater. Celebrate that, citizen. Stop with the name-calling, population slicing, message targeting and red-and-blue state mapping.
Public Education. After 12 years, "no child left behind" has become "every child left behind" in a competitive global economy. Endless testing, intimidation, blame and budget manipulation is not working. Let's re-think the problem, as if the future wellbeing of the nation depended upon it. It does.
Defense. Ixnay on all the rhetorical hero worship. It is starting to sound self-conscious and guilt-ridden. If we don't know why we are splitting up families, putting our best patriotic people in harm's way or investing lives and treasure in the forsaken outreaches of Afghanistan, let's just bring everybody home. Enough.
Government. At the front door, we decry taxes and abhor waste, fraud and welfare abuse. At the back door, we apply for every Appalachian anti-poverty grant available since the crusade initiated by Michael Harrington's "The Other America" — which hit the bookstores in, um, 1962.
Opportunity. If the road to power and fortune starts at the best private nursery school, travels through preparatory years at Andover and Exeter to Harvard, Yale, Princeton and winds up crushing the American dream from an office on Wall Street, maybe there is a better path.
Community is everywhere, thanks to the Internet. A wireless generation is designing and adapting culture by the nanosecond. Inclusion, expression, opportunity, equality, mobilization and unity of purpose are as close as the cell phone and laptop. Tap in.
Family. It is the building block for traditional society. This unit is now defined in so many ways, some of which are so broadly dysfunctional that society can barely keep the idea together, much less build upon it. Recognition is the first step in recovery. Save the kids.
Environment. We are in a food chain. When other links are melting, suffocating, mutating or disappearing, check the time. Whatever we do, we don't want it to be too little or too late.
Faith. May be to die for, but not to kill for.
Truth. Can't see it in the dark. So, support your local newspaper, please.
Happy New Year!