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Thoughts on the coming new year

There are about 2 1/2 hours before 2012 in California. I just finished watching a movie and sharing a bottle of sparkling wine with my wife. The coming year promises some challenges for me, in my role as president of the Livermore Art Association, a 300+ member nonprofit organization, but the challenges pale when compared to the challenges faced by California and the U.S. in 2012.

For 2012 is a presidential election year…. The stakes could not be greater. It seems that the widening gap between the wealthy 1% of Americans and the 99% who have had economic stagnation in the face of rising costs, that is, a net loss for the last 30 years, will make 2012 a critical year in the American Dream.

There are times when I wish for the brilliance and wisdom of a Thomas Jefferson at the helm. Unfortunately, we are left with lesser men and women. We are also left with members of the 99% who, as linearly-Thinking-Judging individuals, lack the PATIENCE necessary to take in data objectively, THINK about it, and come to logical conclusions. I do not question their opinions because they differ from my own. I question the opinions because they lead to the support of presidential candidates WHO DO NOT SUPPORT the 99%! These candidates support only the upper 1%. Sadly, there is not time for the development of a third or fourth party. Hopefully, in the future, there WILL be and such parties will not be co-opted by the greed that has derailed both Democrats and Republicans.

Yesterday, my wife and I watched the first two hours of the Ken Burns series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Sure, I have watched episodes from the series, but I received the entire series on DVD as a Christmas gift. In the first episode, I was re-acquainted with John Muir, a man whom I first “met” at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where I was a graduate student. I also realized that the battle against the greedy exploiters of this earth has been a battle throughout human history and depends upon good people in each generation to combat the excesses of those who seek only wealth for themselves.

I start to feel sorry for the people whom Myers and Briggs labeled as “Thinking-Judging” but whose “Judging” function takes over so quickly that they really are not capable of “Thinking.” I have worked for people like this. People whose quick response “Got it.” only confirms that they will likely never “Get it.” in their entire lives….  :-) People who ask, “What’s the next step?” when there are an infinite number of possible next steps.

Somehow, American society REWARDS such people with money and position, which only demonstrates how LITTLE money and position are worth. (An “anonymous” quotation in Guy Kawasaki’s The Macintosh Way says something like, “If you want to know what God thinks of money, look at those to whom He gives it.” :-) ) Pretty profound…. Pretty obvious….

I sometimes worry that there are so many of these folks, among the 99%, that we will continue to elect bozos to the highest political position in the land.

Such feelings are balanced, however, by my basic optimism and faith in human beings, and by my belief in Karma.

People with my personality “type” are supposed to view much of life as a great struggle between good and evil. I’ll have to admit it…  I do. I chose my side a long time ago. I have paid dearly for it on this earth. But that’s OK. It was my choice. I would not have it any other way. People with my personality type are strong protectors of the “underdog.”

I face the new year with optimism for the future. I could not have brought children into this world if I did not feel this way. The Hackett “family motto” is supposedly,  “Through fortitude and prudence,” and it has served well for generations of Hacketts, of which I am one of the last on my particular branch of the family tree.

I wish all of you the happiest and most joyous of new years, the wisdom to choose what is best for America, and the ability to survive what has become an increasingly difficult life in America’s underclass. Good luck to you and yours.

We will survive, and we will prevail.

Happy New Year!

-Bill at

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