I will start out with a very short list of things I regret about 2011. (There is no use in dwelling on the negative.)
- I regret the apparent hold the radical right has gained in the U.S. in 2011. Much of our political agenda seems to have been driven by a small fringe group in this country. I regret that so many of our politicians seem to be totally intimated by this group.
- I regret that there appears to be a significant portion of citizens in the U.S. who are either very gullible about healthcare issues or very uncaring about their brothers who are financially destroyed by healthcare bills or even die because they cannot afford private coverage. Obamacare as they call it does need some changes but to call for its total repeal is very unchristian and uncaring.
- I regret that there is not a compassionate one among all those candidates for president in the Republican party. They all seem to pander to the extremes of their party. Our country is in desperate need for a true leader but there appears to be none among this current crop for the presidency.
- I regret that another 18 million people on this earth have died in 2011 due to hunger or inadequate drinking water! We have the means to stop these totally tragic deaths if only we cared enough.
Here is a longer list of things that happened in 2011 that I am thankful for:
- First and foremost is that neither my wife or I had any major medical events this year. Things pertaining to health seem to predominate us seniors’ lives. If we can stay healthy we can enjoy our autumn years. This was a year of staying healthy thank the Lord.
- I am grateful to finally be on Medicare. My previous employer’s threats to take away the medical portion of my pension now has no effect on me. The Medicare Advantage option he offered was actually no coverage at all so now I am 100% on my own for healthcare coverage but at only one-third the pre-Medicare 2011 costs! I am also grateful that the radical right has not yet managed to take Medicare away from me and I pray they never will.
- I am so happy we as a nation are finally out of Iraq, sort of. Sort of is because we still have thousands of soldiers there to “guard” our embassy. Iraq now has the largest embassy staff anywhere in the world. But at least far fewer of our kids will be in harm’s way in that country. I am praying that we can also get out of Afghanistan in 2012 and not rush into any other conflicts around the world.
- In a serendipitous sort of way I am happy that the congressional super-committee was unable to come to an agreement on slashing spending in the U.S. The result, at least until devious ones in congress find a way around it, is that our military will have to take a 10% cut in its budget. With less money I am hoping that we will manage to keep our noses out of at least a few foreign countries in the coming years and to give peace making efforts a chance where we do. But like most else in Washington, the 10% budget cut commitment will likely be revoked.
- I am happy to see at least some of our U.S. citizens are taking to the streets in the “Occupy” protests. This is the most basic form of democracy that can occur. I wish them all the luck in the world at reigning in some of the great disparity in wealth in the country. The super rich in this country should feel morally obliged to give some of their wealth for the common good. If they don’t choose to do it on their own then we should at least put it back to where it was before Mr. Bush gave them massive tax breaks at the expense of the middle class.
- I am grateful for being able to spend a month visiting our neighbors to the north in Canada. It was a very enjoyable time even if it did end with a serious cold for both me and my wife. There is some very beautiful country up there. PEI was probably my favorite. I wish we would learn from them that universal healthcare is a right for all our citizens and not a privilege for a few.
- I am grateful to have been able to serve another year at Backstreet Missions, our local shelter/soup kitchen and as long as my health holds out I am looking forward to serving again this year.