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  • JMR

My Vision for 2020

It's natural on New Year's Eve Day to look backward and forward in the same moment. At this juncture in history, the temporal dividing line is enshrouded in a haze of uncertainty. There has been so much hatred and violence this year, perpetrated by our President and his narrow-minded minions and supporters against immigrant children, Jews and other minorities, women, the poor, the aged, all innocent victims of an immoral and misguided ideology. In 2020, we have a chance to change our government, but even if that effort succeeds, is it enough to stop the atrocities, or will the chastised racists in this country feel driven to start a second civil war? Trump all but promises the latter course will come to pass if he is defeated. But our vote is the strongest weapon we can wield; without the midterm elections, Trump never could have been impeached. The lesson here is simple: show up.

I fear that haters will not sink back into secure anonymity like they did before Trump came to power and emboldened those who blame their status on those who appear different than them, rather on the exploitative billionaires and polluting corporations, the gun lobby and the drug lobby, the stodgy old guard who value profits over people, personal wealth over the public good. We must do as Frederick Douglass advised: Agitate! Agitate! Agitate! If hate will win out at the end, it should have to fight through mountains of resistance. I pray that the mountains prevail.

From a personal perspective, 2019 was actually quite a good year for me. I launched this website to promote my second novel, King of Kings, which was published along with my first novel in a volume bearing the umbrella title, Ancient Tales Newly Told. While the best-sellers chart has been undisturbed by my latest entry into the world of books, I have sold quite a number of copies and the feedback has been uniformly positive, which of course is very gratifying. A third novel has long been in the works, but it has a long road still to go, mostly due to my own lack of discipline. Also, I have no idea what's going to happen in it.

I'll throw out one recommendation to you all before signing off. The best album I heard in 2019 was Kiwanuka, the third release by Michael Kiwanuka. Born to Ugandan parents who escaped during the reign of Idi Amin, Kiwanuka is a fantastic songwriter whose music covers many bases, from folk to soul to psychedelia to just good funky songcraft. His previous album included "Cold Little Heart," which was used as the theme song for the TV show, Big Little Lies. Check him out.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and regime-changing 2020. Thanks for your support.


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