I hope that all of you had a great Christmas and New Year’s, and that you are ready to get back to the regular routines of your lives, rested and energized.
I always love this time of year. I’m not big on making formal resolutions, but I do appreciate the chance to look back on the year that has passed, and to contemplate goals and hopes for the year to come. And this particular new year finds me in an optimistic mood – you’d expect nothing less from a denizen of this fine site! – notwithstanding the obstacles that our nation will face in 2022.
As we all know, between the disruptions of the pandemic, a terrible election, and the even more terrible leftist mis-rule over this past year, it has been difficult to maintain a consistently positive outlook. But the last third of 2021 brought me renewed hope for the near future.
Sadly, most of this hope has risen from the smoking ruins resulting from a year of Democrat control of the White House and congress. I knew that they’d do a bad job and get bad results – you don’t sow idiotically self-defeating and wrong-headed policies and reap a harvest of success. But I didn’t know just how badly things would go for them, and how quickly!
Defunding and hamstringing the police naturally produced an explosion of crime. Obscene over-spending naturally produced mountains of waste and runaway inflation. Killing pipelines and oil exploration and production naturally left us at the mercy of Putin and the sheiks, and brought us high gas prices. Pulling out troops before evacuating civilians from Afghanistan reminded everyone of why leftists can’t be put in charge of anything important.
So although this year promises to be a long wait for November, and we know the Dems are far from done in their attempts to torment and bedevil us between now and then, it’s much easier to bear the current pain when we have the prospect of seeing them get a much-deserved comeuppance in 10 months.
Even writing that makes me cringe at the idea that I might be counting some pre-hatched chickens, or jinxing us somehow. But if you feel a little uneasy at the thought that they might still be able to send out enough mail-in ballots or otherwise game the system – or that the GOP can be counted on to try mightily to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! – just console yourself with this thought:
Aren’t you glad that you’re on this side of the political divide, with our chances in November, instead of on their side, with theirs?
They can read the tea leaves and the polls, and they’ve got to be losing sleep at what they’re seeing. Biden is visibly deteriorating with each passing day, and Que Mala is somehow more unpopular than he is. All of the energy on their side is with the clueless Squad-ish ideologues, who are determined to keep charging head-first into the brick wall of American public opinion until they are knocked even more senseless than they already are.
To sum up, their leaders and their policies are polling somewhere between “anesthetic-less root canals” and “chlamydia with a side of hemorrhoids,” and it’s hard to imagine that things are going to get better for them this year. Biden is not some up-and-comer who has had a tough rookie year but can learn from it; he peaked 50 years ago, and his peak was part-way up the slope of Mount Mediocrity. And his policies are not going to produce a delayed turn-around once they gather momentum.
The Dem policies went into a pipeline (or was it a sewer pipe?) starting a year ago, and the rotten results that have already emerged from the other end of that pipeline are making everyone sick. And there’s still a full load of more of the same right behind it, and it’s going to be oozing out from now until November.
Let me turn from that nauseating image – sorry! – toward a more uplifting thought.
For that I’m going back to a concept I brought up in a series of columns on, “The Case for Optimism.” If you’d like to read them, you can find them at Martinsimpsonwriting.com; they were posted in July of 2020.
In those columns I discussed two psychological concepts: an internal vs an external locus of control. The former refers to seeing yourself as mostly controlling your own life, while the latter suggests seeing yourself as primarily impacted by larger forces beyond your control.
Like the half empty or half full glass of water, both of these outlooks are partly true. It doesn’t matter how determined or self-actualizing you are: if you are born in a socialist hellhole like Venezuela or China, or if you have a severe genetic disease, or are born to alcoholic, dysfunctional parents, your life is going to be very much harder than someone’s who is born in a thriving country, healthy, and with world-class parents like my wife and I.
But even at those extremes, and especially in between, people who see themselves as in control of their own lives will make decisions every day – work hard, don’t buy things on credit, acquire a Wonder Dog, stay off the heroin – that will make them successful. And people who think the opposite will make decisions – work minimally, produce mostly excuses, vote for politicians to fix your life, mmmmm, heroin – that will ruin their lives.
So why do I bring that up now?
Because the beginning of a new year seems like an especially apt time to focus on developing the most robust internal locus of control for yourself as possible. If you are a conservative, you’re already half-way there, because conservatism is inherently about focusing on the internal vs. the external – as is clear in most conservative mottos.
“Tend your own garden.” “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Because politicians can’t run our own lives nearly as well as we can, “That government is best which governs least.” And, “Mind Your Own Business, You Totalitarian Jerks.”
Okay, I made that last one up, and it has sadly not seemed to sweep the nation. Probably because the acronym for it – MYOBYTJ – doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. Clearly, I’m not in marketing.
Anyway, as we begin a new year – even one in which the externalities of national politics seem to be turning our way — let’s not lose sight of the fact that most of the important things in life are within our control, or at least influence.
I’m in control of what kind of husband I will be to my wife in 2022, and what kind of a father I will be to my girls, and what kind of friend and colleague I will be to my friends and co-workers. I’ll be responsible for how I worship, and what language I use, and how many pounds I gain or lose, and whether I say, “Let’s Go Brandon!” or that other phrase. (Which, let’s admit it, can be oh so satisfying.)
So Happy New Year, CO nation! Let’s tend our own gardens, and take care of business, and crush it in our personal lives.
And then, in November, let’s do our part to form a red wave that will sweep away the blue majorities in congress.
To paraphrase US Grant after the first day at Shiloh, we had the devil’s own years in 2020 and 2021. Lick ‘em in ‘22, though!