We The People: A good beginning

The new mayor passed his first test of office by responding well to the snowstorm “Hercules” which challenged New York this past Friday.

It is a strange thing to wake up to a quiet city. It is discomfiting when our routine and the routine of this great metropolis are interrupted by a bunch of snowflakes. We pride ourselves on letting nothing interfere with the orderly course of business in New York. We should also take pride in the fact that we can rise to the occasion when faced with a challenge.

When it snows, it is my custom to shovel my sidewalk as well as my neighbors’ walkways. Although I hate to admit it, the physical challenge gets more difficult each year. The satisfaction of doing something good is more than enough reward to do the task; however, as time marches on, the challenge is greater.

It is the same for a mature society. My “herculean” challenge was accomplished a little more slowly this time. The snowstorm interrupted my work schedule but it gave me an opportunity to talk with neighbors who aren’t around when I normally leave for work.

Mayor de Blasio took the safe route and cancelled classes on this snowy Friday morning, so I was treated to unrestrained shouts of joy from unseen children playing as I trudged to the subway station.

Somehow, that beautiful sound made all the effort and the impositions of the storm seem worthwhile. I noticed people talking to each other and actually making eye contact for a change.

The snowstorm challenge reminds us that life is not just about getting to work on time or earning a paycheck. Adversity draws citizens together and brings out the best in people. On the uncrowded train, strangers actually had conversations and seemed to enjoy speaking to each other.

We have many challenges before us but we should look at them as opportunities to excel instead of debilitating crises. We can make good decisions and fashion fair solutions. It can be done in City Hall, in Albany and in Washington, D.C.

The Italian auto giant Fiat recently purchased Chrysler Motors, thereby ending a storied chapter of American auto-making history. When I heard the news, I was sad and jealous in a nationalistic sort of way.

While I headed to the subway station, I reminded myself that dozens of fine American auto manufacturers have gone out of business over the years. Instead of looking at this as bad news, it could be considered an opportunity for new management to bring automotive innovation to a venerable American car manufacturer.

If the public gets better Chrysler automobiles because of the ownership change, then the American consumer will be better off. We should not fall prey to the idea that our best days are behind us since it is a self-fulfilling philosophy. We may have great challenges but that gives society the opportunity to create great solutions.

Our future is as bright as we are willing to make it. Let us dedicate ourselves in the new year to accomplishing worthwhile goals like increased protection for individual rights, better education opportunities for students, better gun regulation for the entire nation and improved fiscal decision making so that the next generation of citizens is given the same opportunity for a life of happiness and contentment we received from our parents.

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