I promised a few friends that I would attempt to end the year on a more fluffy note. Not that I am a fluffy person by any stretch of the imagination; I am not. So in keeping with some kind of inadvertent tradition, I hereby present the year in review.
I didn’t break anything, thank G-d. I paid off the mortgage. I did a bunch of stuff to the house, including “winterizing” the sun porch and, of course, the kitchen. I turned the living room into a bedroom so FIL could remain at home, and together, we faced his end of life. He didn’t quite make it to my granddaughter’s beginning of life, having left us on the morning of Yom Kippur, quietly, in bed, just as he wanted. He missed meeting his great granddaughter by 17days. He was cremated just as he wanted, and on the weekend of the baby-naming, when the senior son came in, we buried his ashes at Fort Snelling, just as he wanted. In attendance were just us: me, his grandsons and granddaughter-in-law whom he adored, his new-best-friend Handy, and his great-granddaughter. No service, no speakers, just a 21-gun salute for this proud WWII naval officer. Just as he wanted.
So now, it’s just me and dog heading into 2015. Funny thing is that I’m rather enjoying this process. Instead of being terrifying…and I thought it might be…it’s been freeing. I am only responsible for myself…and dog. I think she’s having a harder time. She’s taken to dragging her bed so that it’s all the way on the side of the couch in the study and you can’t see it from the door. I’m trying to teach her to play. She can now catch a little cookie midair, but she won’t pick up a tennis ball. We have all winter to work on this, so that when the spring comes, maybe, just maybe, she’ll want to hang out with me outside. She’s misses FIL; that much is very clear.
As for politics and news, I can only say that I am disappointed beyond reason. In the 4 years since the blog was started, the proliferation of hate speech and divisive media behavior is astounding. Media outlets on both sides have chosen to publish half-truth spun in the most hateful, hurtful manner humanly possible. There seems to be less and less balance and more and more partisanism. And it’s ugly. Very, very ugly. And it’s not just Fox News or CNN; it’s Huffington Post, the NY Post, and even the Washington Post. It’s RawStory, Politico, and New York Magazine. Journalism is a rapidly disappearing profession and become interpretive art at a time when we need it to be factual and balanced. I would rather read a string of unvarnished facts than a Rumplestiltskin version of events spun into salacious pyrite…because folks, that ain’t gold.
How can you not wonder about what we’re doing to our own society when we publish headlines that are just lies? How is that different from anti-American propaganda from China or Pakistan? Not really. It’s still propaganda even when it’s directed at our own population. It doesn’t do anyone any favors to further divide the American people along political/racial/regional lines. I cannot help but wonder what the real reaction to the lack of indictment against Darrell Wilson would’ve have been without the 10 second news cycle. Would we have had a better understanding of the anger? Would there have been riots without the press? I don’t know, but I would’ve been more comfortable with reporting that focused on what we did actually know about the Michael Brown shooting rather than what was speculation. At the same time, when we know exactly what happened, as in the case of Eric Garner, how was the officer not indicted?
As we head into the next presidential election cycle, I am dreading the role the press will carve out for itself. It sure as hell won’t be that of an unbiased moderator. There isn’t an organ out there that won’t manipulate the truth for the sake of ratings. Gone is the idea that a newspaper is supposed to present news. Now, they are simply in the opinion biz and everyone and everything else be damned.
So let’s welcome 2015 with a dash of disbelief, a healthy dose of skepticism, and a soupçon of unbridled optimism…because that’s about all we can afford these days.
Whatever the year brings….and it’s probably bringing my nonagenarian parents from sunny Flah-rida to Minnesnowta for assisted living….it’s gonna be an interesting year at the very least. And ever the optimist, I’m hoping for a fun ride.
The Wifely Person’s Tip o’the Week
Make a difference in your own life…read something you wouldn’t normally read.