Dess Alt Yohr is now fer-bei; wos now aw-fongt is yoh gons nei.
Mier leava un mier wolda, fom Neia biss tzu’m Alta. Darrich feel Ongsht un Druvvel; darrich Tzittera un darrich Farricht. Darrich Grieg un grossa Schrecka; dess dutt de gons Welt be-decka.
The old year is gone; what is now beginning is all new.
We live through much fear and trouble; through nervousness and through fright; through war and through terror; this covers the whole world and we leave this to the disposition of God from the new to the old.
This Pennsylvania Dutch New Year’s wish, many generations old, shows the more things change, the more they remain the same.
Fear, trouble, war, terror all have visited this nation and its citizens before. All will visit again. What is important, however, is our national and individual resolve to remain strong in the face of these destroyers of spirit.
Topping my list of New Year’s wishes for 2018 is the need for Americans to read and listen to news reports with a critical eye and a bit of skepticism.
Merriam-Webster defines critical eye as “in a manner using or involving careful judgment about the good and bad parts.” Skepticism is defined as “an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object and the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain.”
The year 2017 saw women coming out of the woodwork with either sexual harassment or sexual assault or rape accusations against a roster of men, including Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, news commentators Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling and Charlie Rose, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and politicians former president George H.W. Bush, Congressman John Conyers, Judge Roy Moore and Al Franken, who stepped down as a U.S. senator Jan. 2.
The fur began flying from the West Coast to the East Coast as more and more women joined the #metoo movement with allegations stretching back 10, 20, 30 or more years.
As the chorus of voices grew, I could not help but compare the attacks to those made in the 1950s by U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, who targeted government workers, academics and Hollywood elites in his witch hunt for covert communists.
The derogatory term “McCarthyism” is now often used to refer to a campaign by someone using unconfirmed allegations against another.
Why did these women come out with their stories at this time? Were some, were all, telling the truth? Did they do it for money, for 15 minutes of fame, for the chance to appear on the “big screen” or a job close to power?
Why didn’t they report the rape or assaults to police at the time? Were they afraid to lose their jobs? Did they think their accusations would not be taken seriously?
Why didn’t they just turn around, tell the man touching them to knock it off, slap him across the face or just run away screaming if they could?
These are the questions everyone needs to ask before accepting the allegations without reserve.
Careers, lives and reputations were destroyed in the 1950s as they were this past year because, in many cases, guilty until proven innocent was the standard by which many of these men were judged.
My New Year’s wish for 2018 is that every female be empowered with a strong sense of self-worth from the time she can understand, from the time she can talk, from the time she can walk as a toddler.
They are a variety of effective ways a woman can deal with a man’s inappropriate advances at the time of the incident without appearing on television 20 years later in a 15-second sound bite with a nationally known lawyer at her side.