2016 has been quite the year. Americans have come to find out that we have a nasty underbelly. In all our years as a nation, we’ve become more cynical and less loving. (You may disagree with me but these are my thoughts.) It has saddened me to hear how hateful, racist and the rest of the list, many of us are. The election exposed these biases and the fact that patriarchy is still fighting to keep the upper hand, in both politics and religion. The alpha male stomping around to bring women, genders, sexual preference and anyone who is not like himself — into submission. The threat of the loss of power has had, and will continue to have, dire consequences for us as human beings, a nation, and the future of the planet. My hope is that women will become recognized to have a more important contributing voice as we go forward. Right now it feels like we are going backwards.
Enough with the political front of the year. We’ve sadly, had to say good bye to many artists. Sitting here on a hill overlooking Orient Bay, I recall doing the same thing last year. The island was all a buzz, with the news, that Prince was celebrating the New Year on St. Barths. I tried to picture what that looked like and who was invited. We usually are very low key for New Year’s. Sushi and champagne while watching the ball drop is our pace, if we can stay awake. Last year we were here on SXM, the first time doing the holidays on the island. We watched, from our hilltop perch, the fireworks over the bay and listened to the party music below. That’s our plan for this year. We were still on the rock when the news of David Bowie’s passing began the long list of sad losses for 2016. Then in the spring, Prince, too, made the list.
Woven through these two contrasting stories is an underlying theme of human frailty. There is a delicate balance between life and death, love and hate, hope and despair, faith and doubt, confidence and fear, safety and crime or war. We consider the rich and celebrity worthy of respect while humiliating others. 2017 will be more of the same unless we are willing to change. Many think the US is a Christian nation, yet are not following Christ’s example, rather, a religion that aligns itself with patriarchal views of controlling others. Until we see each other as equals, there will be no peace or real success personally or nationally. The world is becoming a global neighborhood with all its diversity. We must learn to embrace our differences instead of tribalistic individualism. What are we leaving behind for future generations? Much of it is a tale of woe. We continue to teach those younger then ourselves how to behave within our surroundings. It is frustrating to see the perpetuation of such destructive systems. Doesn’t even religion teach, we are all brothers and sisters? Did not our founders state “all men are created equal”? Brothers and sisters, all equal with many gifts to bring to the table. And yes, artists among us, inspired to bring beauty to the rest of us. I think I’ll just reflect on that.