Goals for the New Year

Thursday, December 27, 2007 | 8:56 a.m. CST; updated 10:48 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My New Year’s revolu ... resolutions.

Query: Why make promises we are only going to break within 30 days of their declaration? Maybe, just maybe, the president had the right idea (though on the wrong topic) when he suggested we “stay the course.”

My 2008 resolutions:

— Keep plugging away.

In the last six months, politicians have told me that I am everything from the thorn in the foot of government to a “pain in the butt.” Yet my purpose as an opinion columnist is to keep our leaders thinking, and to generate the conversation on boutique issues and the unknown. From the mayor and City Council to the president of the United States, the Fourth Estate’s opinion writers are the voice of the people.

— Stimulate the conversation.

I have said this before: Although many believe that commentators are only venting their personal gripes and mental seizures, the reality is that our primary purpose is to stimulate the conversation. Whether writers for the local newspapers or national radio and television commentators, we are all saying something that is the “truth” in the mind of someone on the planet. In fact, it is the single voice that strikes the cord of change in our society.

— Tell the truth.

I will continue to check and double-check my facts and will acknowledge when I goof, as I invariably will from time to time. Writers tend to work on ideas generated by the news, conversations around the proverbial water cooler or, today, the Internet. “Rumor Control Central” is alive and creating havoc, and I cannot tell you how many times I have contacted the source of a document to only find that it is yet another hoax.

— Recognition of true heroes.

American blue collar, retail and farm workers are the true heroes of this country. We do not say enough good things about them, and they remain unsung by the media. Since beginning this column, I have done my best to mention those who go to the effort of giving more than expected. From offering land for the new Columbia high school to providing outstanding service to consumers, from those who clean our bathrooms at work to the newest immigrants, legal and otherwise, who seek the American dream.

— Know my limitations and exceed them often.

Limitations are artificial barriers meant to be passed. My goal is to make this column better and more enjoyable for you, the readers. I know that can be done, and I will clear the new height you have set on the bar. My second goal is to franchise this column nationally and with your help that will be accomplished. My third is to be invited to speak to your organization.

— Stay the course.

Regular readers note that I have four main topics of comfort; First Amendments rights; religion and society; local, regional and national politics, and, the economics of the middle of Middle America. Yet I know that my political stance is not the only opinion and heed closely to the words of the Norse god Odin: “Hail to the speaker and those who listen.” I live by a simple credo: My truth is mine and it is right. Your truth is yours and it is right. Disagreement is fundamental to life.

When I finish an article and hit the “send” button, I wonder if I am going to be a hero or put on someone’s hit list. Yet your e-mails and letters have been most encouraging. To my readers and those who have written me from Missouri, California, New Mexico, New York and a half-dozen other states and those who will write in the future, I want to thank you all for your support and comments, positive and critical (which is not a bad thing), and hope not to disappoint you in the coming year.

May this find you well, in great spirits and prosperity in the coming year.

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