- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Leave it to Cuzin' Kim to come up with a slogan to jump-start the new year. "2003, it's all about me," she proclaimed this New Year's Day. "2003, gonna be good for thee," I replied, picking up the positive prose.
For Cuzin' Kim used to say, "Ain't nothing changed but the calendar." Another friend is prone to cry, "Why do we celebrate the new year anyway? What's the point?"
Easy. It's because we all want to be better human beings, and New Year's Day gives us a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over again. A new year presents all sorts of possibilities to reinvent ourselves or realize our dream.
"You got to have a dream 'cause if you don't have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?" Stole that one from "South Pacific."
Only we, you and me, can make 2003 good for thee and for "the least of these." As long as we live to see another day, month or year, we can attempt to make changes for the better for ourselves and others.
And, some of us actually learn from our mistakes as well as our victories.
The person who comes immediately to mind, of course, is D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who was sworn in to his second term during a low-key "people's inaugural" last week. The only passionate moment was provided by a rousing pastor, the Rev. Glen A. Staples of Johenning Temple of Praise, during the spirited inaugural breakfast at the Hyatt Regency.
Has Teflon Tony truly been humbled by his embarrassing campaign for re-election? Will he remember those to whom he turned for help, as Mr. Staples intimated? We can only keep our fingers crossed and pray profusely that he's learned anything about becoming "a servant of all." As for Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, will he summon his business acumen to discover a billion-dollar patch for the state budget, or will he be burned in effigy as people waiting in line outside the DMV get grumpier, gridlock grows and children are crammed into trailers that substitute for classrooms? How far will Maryland governor-elect Robert L. Erhlich Jr.'s luck travel on the heels of his unusual victory as he tries to close the gap in the Free State's coffers left by his predecessor's stupendous spending? To the nearest racetrack to try his good fortune on the slots?
Indeed, we can foresee good tidings in 2003. And, fear bad breaks.
Happily, we have not gone to war yet. Sadly, thousands are still unemployed, and their benefits were not extended by their comfortable congressional representatives who ought to be ashamed of this gross oversight, something they must remedy posthaste.
In these tight times, we should all resolve that this is the year that we will hold our elected officials accountable by making our voices heard loud and long about the tough decisions before them. While we all want our money spent more efficiently and effectively, most also want decent schools, health care, transportation and public safety services. The basics.
As always, my wish for the coming year is for tolerance and that all forms of "-isms" be exposed and erased. Too many people are comfortable believing that racism, sexism and classism are a thing of the past. The welcome uproar about Sen. Trent Lott's faux pas has taught us otherwise. Die-hard prejudices are still embedded in the fabric of American society.
The intolerable situation of racial tension and injustice is how we enter yet another congressional session. Sadly, the solution will not be found by superficial public relations campaigns or committees designed by either political party to placate the masses.
It's amazing how far we've come and yet how far we have to go in this diversifying global society. No wonder some are prone to say, "Ain't nothing changed but the calendar."
It is my fervent hope that every child will have a better life, "free at last" from the "-isms." But we must each do our part to spread love.
"In the new year, I want a better love and a better life," says Cuzin' Jimmy. How sweet. How real. How hard.
Which is why those well-intended, life-altering resolutions made on New Year's Day last about as long it takes to sweep up the confetti in Times Square.
Still, we mustn't give up.
I saved this prayerful fable from "The Upper Room" daily devotional booklet written by Avery, called "As We Face the Year Ahead" to share: "Lord, we always make New Year's resolutions but seldom keep them. So what do we do, Lord, as we face the year ahead and dream our dreams of being better people living in a better world? And the world comes back to me: "You try, child. And if you fail, you try again."
Yes, keep trying.
It is in the area of the human heart where we need to try much harder. It is in achieving the dream of human harmony that we must not accept defeat.
That's how 2003 will be good for thee, and me.

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