Look to new decade, keep past in mind

Freedom New Mexico

The general reverence for New Year’s Day dates back to the most ancient of times.

Counted among the gods of the Roman pantheon was Janus, the two-headed deity who inspired the modern name for the first month of the year. One of Janus’ faces supposedly looked back into the past to recall good deeds and to learn from the misfortunes of the past year. The second face looked ahead with hope for brighter days to come and to a time for spiritual rebirth with the arrival of spring.

While Janus is no longer widely worshipped, the twin traditions of reflection and renewal when the calendar flips remains deeply ingrained in many cultures around the world. This is the time of year when people promise to improve their lives, plot new careers and reach out to people from their past to reconnect.

Normally, the contemplation prompted by New Year’s Day focuses on events of the previous 12 months or so. But the location of 2009 at the end of a decade that launched a new millennium prompted many in December to conduct a multi-year review of events shaping our lives, our communities and our nation.

But now, 2010 has arrived! Without forgetting the past, we can move forward to make a difference for ourselves and for those around us. Unlike the ancient Romans, Americans do not believe the threads of our future already have been woven into some unchangeable, universal tapestry. We know we will guide our own destiny to a better place if we have the courage to properly harness the intellect, energy and purpose that embodies humankind.

The common consensus is that 2009 was an ugly year with the recession, ongoing fighting in foreign lands and political divisions that would seem to deny any notion of unity. Yet, the eternal light of American freedom still shines as a beacon for prosperity and peaceful fulfillment.

That light can grow in 2010 if we resolve to recommit ourselves to the principles that have been our bedrock for so long: our governments will govern better if they govern less, not more; and we shall treat others as we want them to treat us and our loved ones.

We wish you a joyous new year filled with life and liberty for all.