COLUMN: Farewell to 2009, hello to opportunities to do better

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — In my eyes, 2009 was not the kind of year that will stand out in memory. It was a Murphy’s Law kind of year when whatever could go wrong, did. There is not much about it that I care to reflect on. Within a few days, the year will be behind us and we will welcome the 10th year of the new century and a fresh opportunity to try to get things right. So, to get things moving along, I’m seizing the moment to throw in my two cents and serve up my wish list for the coming year.

My first wish is to be able to welcome the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. They have done a magnificent job fighting very unpopular wars. As far as I’m concerned, Iraq was an unnecessary war and Afghanistan was one which should have been over years ago. I believe this is another Vietnam War, one that we are unlikely to win. While I understand why the troops cannot be pulled out immediately from Afghanistan, I certainly hope they can be brought home soon. The fact that both Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons I find to be ludicrous.

I hope the fight over health care reform has informed the American people that their government is broken. The two-party system is corrupt and incapable of serving the nation. If steps are not taken to develop a third party to challenge them, I feel that within the next five years, the middle class will have been destroyed, the country will be in such a state of disorder and the people will be so disgusted that the door will be open for a dictatorship. As in the case of Nazi Germany, it will be deja vu all over again.

The country is going to have to come to its senses in regards to America's youth. The future genius of this country is being squandered unmercifully. This preoccupation with sex is going to have to end. Freedom of speech and expression can certainly be allowed to pollute the minds of millions and if that is going to be tolerated, which it obviously is, then the citizenry and responsible parents must get their minds together and find ways to counteract the influence. While many parents may consider sexting a ‘teen-age thing’ there are some parents who disallow this kind of behavior and as a society we should be grateful to them.

And I fervently wish Missouri will make texting while driving illegal at any age. I hope legislators also will place restrictions on the use of cell phones for any reason while driving. Certainly we can expect a hard fight if the state makes that attempt, but sensible people, I’m sure, will see the reason for this. Not every driver is a safe driver to begin with and these drivers, along with good drivers, have the same privileges. Anyone who cannot see that the safety of innocent people is affected by this practice has limited vision.

And I hope people will become more neighborly and take care of their neighborhoods. I think anyone who has been in a disaster of any kind will tell you that it will not be Facebook or Twitter that will pull you out of a burning house or offer you shelter against a raging tornado — it will be the people closest to you. Just think about it. It may be fun and exciting to have 75 messages waiting for you on the computer, but if the electricity is knocked out the only people you have access to are the ones nearby.

I know that many of us have forgotten that we are social creatures and meant to share our lives with others. I hear people all the time say that they really don’t like other people and they prefer to be alone. Try to remember that only works when you are in good health and have the energy and finances to see to your own needs. Do you really think you will always be that way? Forever?

It is up to us, those who have inherited this democratic republic, to make the country better for the next generation. We can all look round our neighborhoods and communities and see things that can be improved. It is up to us to make changes where we can. Ignoring problems only makes things worse. Better citizens make a better nation.

Let’s get cracking.

 You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at


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