Reflections on Reflection



We need to acknowledge that what ultimately matters is not what a foreign power did to America, but what America did to itself.
--A. Dorfman, LA Times
17 Dec 2017


Peace and joy, Camper.
The darkest days of the year have come in the northern hemisphere, and Your Uncle Jerry can feel the earth rolling round the big fat corner that will tilt us back toward the sun.
Uncle Jerry is against New Year’s Day.
Why? Because New Year’s Day is the annual moment of reflection, and reflection, Young Person, is over-rated. On reflection, we say okay, this coming year we’ll turn away from junk food and click-bait; we’ll remember to vote even in the local elections. Yes, we’ll also listen better to the kids. We’ll try to understand our parents. To be woke. To show up. To finally make up our mind. On reflection, we plan to change our ways in little ways, is what I’m saying.
I don’t care for it.
I mean, that’s all fine, but seriously, Camper, look at the year behind us. The most important things that happened, happened because you were smug and complacent the year before that. Last year, nobody was listening to you. Why spend even one more minute re-living all those hopeless high-minded appeals to the Common Good, all the pink-knitted petitions and marches, the idealistic demands for inclusivity and tolerance?
Your Uncle Jerry is a progressive. That means he thinks forward, Camper, which is what you should be doing. Of course, you can resolve in the new year to think it over once again. Maybe you failed in some way. Why not take the high road, meet them in the middle? But really, that’s just remarrying your Ex. Letting Hope triumph over Experience.
Camper, you gotta recognize when you’re talking to people who are just not on board with the whole Created Equal thing. Are you really so codependent that you think that modeling niceness will change an abuser or a fascist? Oh, sorry—is the other side in a coma all of a sudden, waiting for your gentle kiss to bring them around?
Look, if you’re Captain America, which you’re not, they are your Winter Solder. Been there, exploded that. You are flat on your back right now, burping up sand and sea water.
No. Last year was the last frame of that movie. You know exactly what went wrong, and you know what you have to do—who you have to back, who you have to resist. You know you’ll lose a few. You know it’s long-term, and you know how many New Years it will take. (A lot. Look at what Dorfman says about Chile.)
So the thing is this, Camper: Know who you are. Decide it every day. You’re old enough not to complain, and smart enough not to wait until New Year’s Eve.
Reflection is for dummies; what you want is a reckoning. Walk away. Toss a match over your shoulder.
Joy and peace. 

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