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Letter from America


Sullivan County, New York
27th December 2011.
Written by Ellen Neumann

Ellen NeumannEllen NeumannAs the New Year approaches, I ponder. What will 2012 bring? Here in the USA we face a National election, unprecedented debt and a very high unemployment rate. Europe faces the possible breakdown of the European Union; a system that on paper works gloriously yet seems to be failing in reality as small countries such as Ireland struggle to remain solvent while large countries such as Germany vie for more control.  The Middle East remains a hot bed of political revolution.  Worldwide we see dramatic changes in weather conditions, creating “natural disasters” frequently and violently.  Where will it all lead us in the next twelve months?

Our National election, which occurs every four years, has the entire country buzzing. In 2008 we elected Barack Obama as our president. His big campaign *“shtick” was the promise of change.  He would work to repair our floundering economy, to create a National Healthcare System so every American would have access to medical care and end the war in Iraq.  Mr. Obama is a black man, the first to be elected to our highest office. Much of the opposition he meets stems from the fact that many people in this country still do not accept a man of color as their commander and chief.  “Oh NO! Not TRUE!” the haters will cry out! “Oh YES!” says I.  Let’s see it for what it is.  Prejudice, plain and simple, still thrives in the abyss of American Society. Masked by titles such as “Tea Party”, racism lurks and rears its ugly head over and over again; preventing our president from doing his job effectively.  Will he win the election this time?? Who knows! If he does, he will have broken down another wall of ignorance.  Only then may he have a shot at fixing what is wrong with this country during his last term of office.

Your problems in Europe are much more complex.  I do not understand them well enough to offer a valid opinion.  What I am about to say is what my heart tells me, not necessarily what is true.  The EU operates as a common group of separate entities. You share the same currency [for the most part], open your borders to each other and claim a degree of unification.  Yet you don’t really consider yourselves as one, therefore eliminating any chance of success. You speak different languages, have different laws and act as individual countries.  The “big dogs” seem to bully their smaller partners instead of protecting and supporting them.  Threats are made to each other instead of promises. From the outside looking in, it appears that the EU is facing possible extinction in the future unless it can come together and seriously strive for unity.  That will take great concession and sacrifice on the part of all in order to be accomplished. My opinion not hard fact and extended with great respect.

The Middle East.  No one has been able to fix that hot mess since recorded history began.  I have no wise words that have not already been offered. Revolution will continue through 2012 as technology and social networking make it possible for the people of the Middle East to effectively voice their plight. Best we in the western world mind our own business and stay out of theirs. That might sound hard but we need to “clean our own houses” instead of littering theirs with ideals they do not want or share.

Our climate has changed at an alarmingly rapid rate. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados and Tsunami’s are frequent and more devastating than we are able to comprehend. Droughts in vast portions of the world are leading to starvation and disease that are beyond or realm of understanding.  Green living is no longer the dream of what we jokingly used to call the “tree huggers” but instead a planet-wide necessity. My generation of Baby Boomers does not take seriously the need for recycling, preserving and protecting our precious natural resources. I need to heed my own words here for I am guilty as sin.

Ready or not, here it comes! 2012 is here, equipped with the challenges I have mentioned and some new ones we have never dreamed of.

Bring it on!

*Yiddish, In common usage, the word shtick has also come to mean any talent, style, habit, or other eccentricity for which a person is particularly well-known,

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