Editorial: Positive outlook depends on your involvement

Published 9:25 am Monday, January 2, 2017

If you want a more positive 2017, we have one piece of advice. Get involved. Get involved in your community, your school, your state, your country.

By many accounts, people are lamenting the negativity of 2016. That stems in part from witnessing the most acrimonious U.S. presidential election in decades, and seeing it broadcast nearly 24-7. It inundated us from every social media platform.

The economy was so-so, though stock investors will finish the year about 15 percent ahead. A lot of famous iconic entertainers and leaders died in 2016, including Carrier Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds. The list of famous who died is exhaustive, including Minnesota’s own funk rock icon Prince.

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Racial unrest continued unabated and more discrimination seemed fueled by the results of the election. Some of that seems to have died down now. We’ll have to see what the future brings.

But all of these things — depressing actions and the feelings that go with them — can be countered by being involved in the American experience. We all must remember we’re given great freedoms that we sometimes take for granted.

We have the freedom to assemble, to petition our government for grievances and speak up for injustices in many forms, from our own Twitter platforms to the mass media you now hold in your hands.

There’s not much we can do about our favorite icons dying, but we can at least vow to celebrate and remember them while they are alive. Take a break from your busy days and listen to your favorite music.

We also have the unique power in America to influence others by our own actions. Volunteerism and helping our neighbor are activities that can be contagious.

In Minnesota, we’re fortunate to be able to walk out our doors in almost any county and find a beautiful park, forest or lake awaiting us to enjoy and celebrate. We have mostly clean air to breathe and water to drink, but there is concern about maintaining both.

Nothing gets better, unless you make it happen. And the best way to see change is to help create it.

— Mankato Free Press, Jan. 1