I remember very clearly the way my mother reacted when Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States. I was only eight years old at the time, and I had never seen my mother so upset prior to that day in November of 1979. When I asked her what was the matter, she stated with absolute certainty, “That man is going to start World War Three.”
I went to bed that night, and many nights thereafter, convinced that atomic bombs would start falling from the sky at any moment following Reagan’s inauguration. It was the height of the Cold War, and many people feared that Reagan, the brash motion picture star turned politician, would say or do something to provoke the Soviet Union, which would ultimately lead to thermonuclear war and the annihilation of life on Earth. For me, the fear was real and constantly on my mind. While running for re-election four years later, President Reagan would famously say during the sound check for his weekly radio address, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” Neither I nor the Soviets were amused by Reagan’s ill-conceived joke.
The fear that Reagan would start a war with the Soviet Union was no laughing matter. My mother had every right to fear what the president-elect might do in office, but she had no right to instill that fear within the mind of her eight year-old child. I won’t make that mistake with my children.
Sure I worry about the brash reality television star turned politician who is now our president-elect, and I worry about what the future may hold, but I will not live in fear. There is no room for fear or loathing in my heart, and I will certainly not allow my children to be influenced by those dark forces either. As Jedi Master Yoda said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” No good can come from living in fear.
Therefore, my New Year’s resolution is this: I vow to live my life guided by Hope and Love. If you have not decided upon any resolutions yet, I encourage you to adopt mine. The November election brought out the worst in many of us, but with the coming of the New Year and the inauguration of the new president, now is a good time for all of us to come together for the sake of our nation and for the sake of our children.
Regardless of who we voted for, we must hope for the best for the new president and for the country. We need to show our kids how to remain positive while facing the unknown. And we must never let our fears become our children’s fears.
When speaking to and in the vicinity of youngsters, we should choose our words very carefully. Thirty seven years after my mother, weakened by her own fears, told me that the end of the world was near, I still vividly recall the words she spoke.
We have to be better for the next generation. It is imperative for us as parents and community leaders to show our kids that we have great hopes for the future—their future. Because their future is now, my friends. 2017 is already upon us. Now is our opportunity to truly make the world a better place for our children.
May Hope and Love and Positivity guide us in all that we do, and may 2017 bring peace and prosperity to all of us. Happy New Year!