The Struggle for the Soul of America: Time to Renew Our Resolve for a Better World in the New Year

It’s the holiday season. Friends and families coming together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. A time of giving and wishing good will to all. A time to envision peace on Earth.

While we take as much of a break as we can from all the world’s troubles, it behooves us to remember the good fortune we do have. Be it our health, the connections with our loved ones, a warm home, or whatever.

Most of all, I deeply appreciate my community, a group of friends and family whom I can count on and who can count on me. With all the hardship and impediments we face in the world, where would any of us be without the support we receive from those close to us? For most of us, community is our salvation in good times and bad.

Though we do our best to be of good cheer, there are many dark undercurrents dampening the holiday spirit. From the war in Ukraine to the scourge of COVID. From the gun violence taking more of our children’s lives[1] to the increase in hate crimes against Blacks, Latinos, sexual minorities, and Jews.[2] And on and on.

At the same time, there are promising signs of better times to come in the new year. The just released final report of the January 6th Committee provides a mountain of evidence that Trump and his co-conspirators will be held accountable for the insurrection against our government.[3] Gas prices are way down as inflation is falling.[4] And Congress has come to an agreement on a new budget preventing a potentially disastrous government shutdown.[5] Perhaps, we are turning a corner as the winter solstice ushers in more light into our world.

So, as this very difficult year comes to an end, we need to not only give thanks for our blessings, but also renew our resolve to make our communities, our country, and this world a better place in the coming year. Many of us donate to various charities, volunteer at local food banks, work to revive our democracy or a multitude of other worthy causes. But is there more we can do? Of course.

We live in perilous times. it is naïve to think that the government, the church, the union or whoever will save us. Together, we can create a better country and world for all of us in the coming year. As the light begins to come back again, now is a good time for each of us to ask what more we can do to make it so.

Wishing everyone joyous holidays and all the best in the new year.

Bruce Berlin

P.S. I’m taking the next week off. See you in two weeks. Happy New Year!

A retired, public sector ethics attorney, Berlin is the author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America (See, the founder of New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics, a former U.S. Institute of Peace fellow, and the founder and former executive director of The Trinity Forum for International Security and Conflict Resolution. He can be reached at

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