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Shelly Aldean: Hopeful expectations for the year ahead

By Shelly Aldean

As is traditional with the arrival of a new year, many people, I suspect, have begun the tedious task of preparing a list of resolutions.

These warriors of wishful thinking will scribble out a laundry list of good intentions hoping that the symbolism of flipping the page on a calendar will somehow magically energize their efforts to finally accomplish some long-neglected goals. Like the last wind-swept pile of leaves curled up in the corner of a deck, this scattered collection of neglected aspirations will either be forgotten, tossed into the nearest waste collection bin or thrown into a nearby compost pile to be resurrected in a new and richer form.

I confess to never having written out a list of resolutions nor do I fully understand why people welcome the passage of another year or why they harbor such high expectations for the 12 months that follow. However, with the arrival of 2021, I have broken with tradition and prepared my own list of hopeful expectations.



I am hopeful, that the livelihoods of the families whose businesses have been destroyed by months of violence in some of our major cities can be restored and that law abiding residents will rise up and make their voices heard; that the elected officials in these cities will remember their oaths of office and fight the institution of mob-rule. After seven months of riots, the mayor of Portland who believed he could placate anarchists and de-escalate the violence, confessed in a news conference on Dec. 31 that, “My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa … Lawlessness and anarchy come at great expense and great risk to the future of our community. It’s time to push back harder against those who are set on destroying our community …”

I am hopeful that the radical ideologies that have emerged in this country can be quelled and that the people who ascribe to the aggressive and intolerant orthodoxies of identity politics will abandon their lack of liberalism; that people will develop an attitude of forgiveness and embrace the promise of redemption in response to perceived slights or actual injuries.



I am hopeful that the disintegration of the American family can be reversed and that more children can be raised in the security of two-parent homes where they can experience the enrichment, security and sense of belonging that intact households bring along with the added blessings of multi-generational interactions. As Paul Adams, a professor emeritus of social work at the University of Hawaii so aptly put it, “With the decline of family has come a loss of faith, a decline in the sense of living for others and having obligations (to family, God and nation) that one did not choose. Such sense of identity, duty, and belonging has come in prior generations with being born, like other mammals, into a family and community.”

I am hopeful, that cities like San Francisco, across the bay from where I was born, abandon their inhumane and destructive policy of enabling the habits of drug addicts, turning their cities into dens of death and despair. In the first 11 months of 2020, 621 people died of overdoses in San Francisco, far outpacing the 173 deaths related to COVID. Residents of the city who demand more arrests and stiffer penalties for dealers are being forcefully opposed by the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements even though, according to an article in the LA Times, “older Black men living alone in residential hotels (in San Francisco) are dying at particularly high rates.”

Finally, I am hopeful, that in the New Year, our lives as citizens of this country will be less defined by our differences and more by the shared desire as a freedom-loving people to unite under the banner of a common cause – to enable everyone regardless of their background or life experience an opportunity to succeed, to achieve what they are capable of achieving with their God given gifts and to be content with the fruits of their own labor.

Shelly Aldean lives in Carson City.