Many people (unsuccessfully) make resolutions for the coming year.
I don't like to fail, so instead of setting unrealistic goals for 2013, I'm going to write about what I didn't like in 2012 and do some venting that will make me feel better than any potentially broken resolutions.
Buzzwords: My least favorites are fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff and fiscal cliff. I can't escape that stupid phrase. And why am I still hearing it? Because people in Washington, elected to serve the needs of people back home, are much more interested in "winning" than in serving. The fallout from their inability to play well with each other will take a bite out of my paycheck and yours. I doubt any of them will have trouble paying their bills in 2013. And, it doesn't appear they had any problem taking a holiday vacation when they knew their work wasn't done. Just for the record, I have never in my nearly 24 years at The Messenger said to Larry Bushman, "Gosh, I didn't bother to do the work you pay me to do, but I think I'll take an extended break over the holidays anyway." Had I said that, I would have rightfully expected to be former Messenger Managing Editor Barbara Wallace Hughes.
Conspiracy theorists: Locally, one of their favorite beliefs is that the police department's top priority is making money. I recently wrote about an out-of-towner who believes he was unfairly targeted for speeding in Fort Dodge because the FDPD is trying to make money. He was targeted for speeding because he was ... speeding.
This week, a local relates that he and some friends were in violation of the snow ordinance parking rules and after an officer had ticketed them for parking on a snow route, the officer came to the door and told the folks inside that they needed to move their vehicles. Obviously, the man says, it's all about the money. In my mind, it's all about cars being in the way when city street workers need to clear the streets so everybody can use them. And, had the officer not done the folks inside the courtesy of letting them know they had been ticketed, they could have simply come outdoors when tow trucks were hooking onto the vehicles. The owners would have been forced to retrieve their vehicle from an impound lot after paying a hefty fee. (OK, I'm a little prejudiced on this one. My dad ran a tow truck for decades. He was often the target of loud, unhappy people who blamed him for their own inability to read the "No parking after 2 a.m." signs they parked beneath.)
Lack of personal responsibility: Mamie McCullough is a successful motivational speaker, educator and businesswoman who grew up dirt poor, convinced she was both unattractive and not too smart. In one of my favorite quotes, she says: "We are all ultimately responsible for what we are and what we become." Bad things happen to everybody. Too many people simply sit down, blame others and take no action. Anybody can be a victim. I have a laundry list of things - ranging from annoying to bad to outright horrible - that have happened to me. I have no desire to wring my hands, mutter "poor me" and hope someone rides to my rescue. It's fine to have people who support you and nourish you, but Mamie (and my dad) are right, if you want a helping hand, try looking at the end of your arm.
People who lack compassion, which might seem strange after the previous point, but it isn't. I donate to charities that help people and charities that help animals. I believe everybody who has the ability to help others should do so. I am damned lucky to have a steady job so I can own my own home, pay my utility bills and buy enough food at the grocery (OK, sometimes too much food). There truly are people who can't do that all the time. They are the working poor, the homeless, the sick, people whose temporary circumstances prevent them from having what I take for granted. It goes back to the old saying about the difference between giving someone a fish and teaching someone to fish. I support charities that give people tools that empower them, not keep them trapped in a mindset that offers no hope. If you have more than you need and you turn a blind eye to people who are truly in need, then you're still poor in all the ways that matter.
Finally, people who tell me they make resolutions, knowing they won't be able to keep them.
Barbara Wallace Hughes is managing editor of The Messenger.