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New year, new president, same old problems

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By Rev. James Snyder

Some people might call me a skeptic. Maybe I am but I am in agreement with good old Benjamin Franklin, who reputedly said, “Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.” This philosophy was probably a result of inventing bifocals.

My personal history has shown that every time I get my hopes up they are soundly dashed to the ground in disappointment. I often refer to myself as an optimistic-pessimist; I know for sure things are going to go wrong. And, I am rarely disappointed.

The month of January represents to many people a whole lot of new things.

For one it is a brand new year, never yet lived, therefore there is an awful lot of hope among many people. Some people have the idea that some kind of magic takes place between the last day of the old year and the first day of the new year. With this comes an expectation that things will be different this year.

The only difference between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 is sleep deprivation resulting from somebody dropping the ball. This may account for all the high hopes and New Year’s resolutions people entertain.

Personally, I do not know what all the hullabaloo is  about. Every 12 months, without fail, we have a day called New Year’s. It is hard to know how many thousands of New Year’s Days has already taken place.

This we do know, there are 12 days in the calendar year numbered one. Like all the other months, January has its first day. Why people think this is any different than any other day is beyond anybody’s imagination.

And this year we have a new president. Again, people are touting high hopes that this president will be different from all the other presidents before us. This is the 44th president who is presiding over these United States of America.

There is nothing really special about a new president. Like clockwork, every four years a new president assumes the highest office in the land, offering to change things. Usually, the inference is that they are going to change things for the better. Sometimes they do ... sometimes they don’t.

But everybody believes somehow,  a new president will change things for the better. Moreover, politicians say it so convincingly during the campaign that some are tempted to believe what they are saying.

A politician can say anything he thinks the people want to hear. The only thing he or she cannot say is, “I was wrong.” And for good reason. If a politician would ever utter those three words, the whole world would cave in.

They have our well-being in mind. We thank them for that.

What many people forget is that a president is a politician, for better or for worse, and we are married to him for the next four years or possibly eight.

Our new president aspires to be like Abraham Lincoln. He took his oath of office on Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. This gives me some pause for concern. Abraham Lincoln grew a beard and sported a stovetop hat. I am trying to picture our new president so attired.

I think it is all right to look up to great men as our pattern. However, we should respect those of the past and allow them to rest peacefully in their graves. Each president should find his own stride and be his own man ... or as much of a man as lobbyists will allow.

I am happy our president is modeling himself after Abraham Lincoln; I only have one piece of advice. Shy away from thespian entertainment.

The greatness of America is that it has survived so many politicians.

But even though there are many things new there still remains old problems. Anybody who would review history, even if you look at our country, most, if not all problems are rooted in two areas.

The first area is money, or filthy lucre.

Some have too much money. Some do not have enough money and what they do have they cannot hang onto. And some want more money no matter how much they have at the time. They could have millions of dollars but still that one little word, “more,” answers on their lips every day of their life.

If money could bring happiness, there would be a whole lot of giddy people in the world. The trouble is money brings trouble. Some people will do anything and everything but honest work to reach their goal of getting more money.

Another source of problems for the New Year is people. Regardless of the problem anywhere in the world there is usually a name attached to it. People cause more problems than anything and everything else put together.

If we could get rid of money and people, we would have no more problems. The only trouble with that is who would appreciate that trouble-free world?

I think King Solomon in the Old Testament had his finger on the whole situation. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV.)

Trusting in things and people who change is a good formula for disappointment.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road. He and his wife, Martha, live in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 687-4240, or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. The church Web site is www.whatafellowship.com.