Here’s to a better year, decade ahead

Tonight marks not only the end of a year, but a decade. As a few hard-core timekeepers, like myself, keep pounding away, the year 2020 was not the first year of the 20s, but the tenth of the 10s. Therefore, you can lump the lousiness of 2020 in with the previous nine years to come up with a moderately good decade.

Therefore, tonight we can start with a clean slate and look at the first year of a new decade with complete enthusiasm about what the 2020s will be like.

There is no denying the past 10 months have been among the worst many of us can remember. Previous generations have battled a variety of misfortunes, but nothing like this has come along in some time. Sadly, too many people have felt the loss of a loved one or suffered through a bout with the Coronavirus.

But maybe equally said, is how people have reacted. For some it has been an excuse to cheat and steal. For others, it has been a political weapon of mass destruction, for some it is to govern every element of your life. For others, it is the line of personal freedom which cannot be crossed. Mask be damned, you can’t tell me what to do.

Sadly, both are wrong and until some empathy and compromise come along, the problem will remain.

But the previous nine years and two months were not all bad. In fact, there were some fun times in the teens. For example, think about how far technology and entertainment have advanced in the past 10 years. Unless you are still attached to your flip phone, chances are the device in your hand serves as a portal to more information than any device in history. Televisions and computers, which once cost thousands of dollars, now sell for just a few cents on the dollar they once were.

Medical advances in the past 10 years have been dramatic. New developments in heart care and cancer treatments are offering hope where there once was none. Ten years ago, HIV was virtually a death sentence. They now have treatment options.

If you are a Kansas City sports fan, was there ever a greater time than the 2010s? The Royals were in two World Series, winning one.

The Chiefs won the Super Bowl. Sporting Kansas City won the MLS Cup. And teams throughout the county celebrated a series of championships on the gridiron, on the court or on the field.

Ten years ago, we were at war in at least two countries and any hope for peace seemed farfetched. There was a constant turmoil in the Middle East. The economies of several developed nations were on the brink of collapse. Those are things we don’t think about much anymore.

So, I am not minimizing the suffering and anguish of the past year, just developing the notion that in the total context of time, it may be just a blip and before long the episode will simply be a “remember when.” At least we can hope so.

Monday afternoon I had an extended conversation with Harrisonville City Administrator Brad Ratliff. As profiled in today’s paper, he outlined some exciting plans for the next few months in town with the prospects of new homes, businesses and industries better than can have been said for decades.

Getting to this point has been difficult, but one thing I noticed about him was how he sought solutions. It’s amazing how many people can see a problem, but how few figure out a solution.

We also lamented a common annoyance. Late in 2019, Aldi’s announced it was building a store in Harrisonville. They said construction would begin in late 2020 and the store would open in early 2021. Since that time, social media has pounded a constant drumbeat of “Aldi’s isn’t coming because the city doesn’t want it.” Or, “Aldi’s can’t come because the city won’t let them put in a stoplight.” Or, “Aldi’s isn’t coming because the mayor isn’t going to allow it.” Many people became concerned because they believed these posters.

As Ratliff noted, all the comments were obviously made by people who didn’t know anything about the issue.

If contacted, the city always said Aldi’s is still coming. It was also noted on a number of occasions in The Tribune that developments were happening about the store. I wrote on numerous occasions that Aldi’s is still on the horizon.

Ratliff made a simple, brilliant observation: “Maybe if they would have read The Tribune instead of social media posts, they might have understood.” As I said, brilliant observation.

Here is hoping everyone enjoys a great New Year and hopefully the 2020s will be a time for us all to remember fondly. How about this for a resolution: until the COVID-19 passes, wear a mask.