Be of Good Cheer

By Louis Avallone

It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year…with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you to be of good cheer. But for many Americans, this year, that may be a tall order. 75% of Americans think our nation is heading in the wrong direction. Consumer debt is rising, as 32% of Americans owe more money today than they did a year ago. 43% of Americans say that they have even put off medical procedures to save money. And more than ever before, Americans say that their home is worth less than what they owe on it.

There are 14 million Americans who are actively seeking employment, but remain regrettably unemployed, not to mention the almost 6 million Americans who will lose their long-term unemployment benefits by the end of the year. Not exactly the best times for chestnuts roasting by an open fire. Or for Jack Frost to be nipping at your nose.

But you see, for these unemployed Americans, it is hardly important to them to hear the sophomoric chit-chat over which Republican candidate for president speaks most eloquently, or to even watch the President’s political gamesmanship of inciting class warfare by promising more record deficit spending, through the expansion of government and redistribution of wealth.

No, you see, many Americans are simply in a funk. It’s because a job is more than just income. More than just what we do to pay the bills. There is a human devastation from joblessness that the politicians, pundits, and bureaucrats just don’t get; nor does the mainstream media, who rather keep “score” of the insignificant.

Before terrorism, or the devaluation of our currency, or the rising national debt, or even free trade agreements that send American jobs overseas, it is hopelessness that stalks the land as our nation’s most formidable threat to peace and security. It is the loss of control for folks to earn a living and take care of their families. And it’s time for the folks who peddle helplessness and blame to step out of our way.

It is literally a matter of life and death. A research study of 20 million people recently found that unemployment increases the risk of premature mortality by almost 65%. And a CNN study concluded that people who lose their jobs are 83 percent more likely to develop stress-induced conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis and depression. And as the unemployment rate worsens, the divorce rates rise, marriage rates decline, and children perform more poorly in school. These are children that are more likely, during these times, to experience homelessness, be abused, dropout of school, and live in poverty as adults. This is the human consequence of all those that trade on despair…and it’s shameful.

It doesn’t have to be this way. But you have to believe. If you can visualize success, you are likely to gain it. No, America is not perfect, but the sun is hardly setting on America. In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” This is the essence of the Americans spirit and we won’t despair, because for so many of us, it’s still morning in America.

Even Walt Disney had to declare bankruptcy, just before he left for Hollywood and came up with a cartoon mouse that changed the world. Milton Hershey actually declared bankruptcy after four initial tries at starting a candy company. No one else (except for Mick and Adrian) really thought that Rocky could beat Apollo. But he did.

All of us just need to be reminded that we have the power within ourselves, much more often than not; to solve our own problems…we just need the government and the “do-nothing” political power-hungry folks to get out of our way.

Just like in the movie the Wizard of Oz: Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion didn’t need to realize the potential of government (or rather, Oz). All these characters needed to do was realize their own potential and manifest it. As Glinda the Good Witch explained so simply to Dorothy, “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.”

See, she always had the power, within herself. Just like Scarecrow, to whom Oz presented a diploma, who already had just as much brains as those who graduated from the most prestigious universities. Or Tin Man, who was already as sentimental as any man could be. Or Lion who was already courageous, but just didn’t know it yet.

Courage is in overcoming our fear, not in being fearless about our future. Most challenges in life seem far more insurmountable than they actually are, like melting the formidable Wicked Witch with a pail of plain water.

So, with all of that said during this holiday season, and for whatever or whomever your “Wicked Witch” may be today, have faith and stay the course…and pray. Be of good cheer. After all, more often than not, “somewhere over the rainbow” is already right in your own backyard (sometimes we just don’t know it yet).

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