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2018 is about to become 2019 and knowing that ignoring predictions creates predicaments it is with a modicum of trepidation that I toss in my prognostications for the coming year. You must admit that 2018 is not likely to go down as one of America’s better years. Yes, I know the tax cut and deregulation went over big around here, but my math indicates that the tariffs you and I are paying sure wiped out whatever windfall the tax break provided (of course I’m not one of those folks in the six-figure income either).

Our public discourse led by our president and his supporters came home to roost by resurrecting white nationalists, quadrupling immigration paranoia, children continued to be slaughtered in their classrooms, people were murdered in church sanctuaries, the most revered political office in the world filled the air with over 7,000 confirmed lies that tossed “we the people” into a thick fog of untruths, proof that our climate is changing showed up more often than the sceptics and conspiracy theorists care to admit, all of which combined to create a crass milieu of polarizing division.

This intense “them versus us” stuff has once again tossed our republic into chaos similar to what eventually led us into the civil war of the 1860s. The divisions are not only stark but unless we get back to our basic principles, which requires us to not only succumb to a rule of law that assures everyone, even those who aren’t citizens, are be treated equally with the right to innocence until proven guilty in a court of law, things will get much worse and more importantly, our leaders need to be held accountable when they lie.

Like most folks I’ve seen lots of stuff that I disagree with and there have been a few times when it’s made me disagreeable, but above all else I’ve fully appreciated that reasonable minds can reasonably differ and accomplishing this requires principles.

I was raised in the ‘50s when being a Cub and Boy Scout was just part of growing up. Above everything else we were required to learn the Boy Scout oath, law, motto and slogan while doing our best to live by them. For those of you who’ve never heard that oath here it is:

“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the scout law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

The Boy Scout law says: “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Their motto is “Be prepared” and their slogan is “Do a good turn daily.”

I don’t claim to have been a good Boy Scout but I do remember trying to be one, and it seems to me that if we’d at least try to live by just their slogan we might have a chance at healing ourselves.

Now on to the aforementioned prognostications:

1. Despite all the folks worrying about Armageddon, today is likely to become yesterday as it tips into tomorrow. 2. Whether you like it or not the weather is likely to continue. 3. Despite all your plans the future will not be like it used to be. 4. If tomorrow doesn’t show up you’re probably not here anymore. 5. Most likely by now you’re thinking that it would have been more rewarding doing something other than reading this. Here’s hoping that won’t discourage you from seeing whether or not I improve on this problem next week.

Happy New Year!

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.