All new for new year
By: Mario J. Paredes
The beginning of a new year provides the opportunity to renew ourselves. With good intentions and promises of change, we turn the page at the end of the year and start a NEW. We make these goals and intentions within the context of our personal, family, and social realities.
Our national, international, and global realities require us to leave behind our petty individual interests and peer outside our windows so we can contemplate a humanity that is hopeful, expectant, anguished, and troubled; a humanity that awaits improvements, changes, and solutions.
Our current moment is marked by difficulties, severe and significant problems, gaps, and inequities that afflict us, interest us, affect us, and distress us, such as the destruction of the environment that manifests itself in ecological disasters and global warming, wars on our world’s different fronts, the threat of wars that will escalate worldwide, the terrifying possibility of the use of biological, atomic, or nuclear weapons.
But we are also suffocated by the corruption of rulers and political and religious leaders, just as we are concerned about the populism of many nations’ political leaders who threaten democracy. We are concerned about the hunger and misery of the great majority amidst the luxury and waste of a few, the migratory phenomenon of large masses of the population who, in different parts of the world, are forced to abandon everything and risk all they have, with little or no hope of improving their future.
We are concerned about the lack of possibilities for decent work, study, housing, and access to health systems for millions who are clamoring for an opportunity on earth, the invasion of privacy by tech multinationals that store intimate data from our daily lives, the advance of artificial intelligence as a possible threat to human intelligence, the enormous power of economic conglomerates and owners of social media who impose their self-interested truth and post-truth against the truth in information, to which we are all entitled, and, of course, the discrimination (political, racial, religious, economic, sexual) are some of the factors that prevent us from conceiving having a more prosperous new year.
But in addition, it’s very concerning the issue of water, the urgent need for drinking water for so many or the scarcity of water that humanity could face, added to the malnutrition of so many, the aging of many societies, the problem of pensions as an economic right of retirees, the flagrant and systematic violation of human rights of so many innocent, defenseless people, prison overcrowding, the insecurity of children and young people when using social networks, the ceaseless shootings and massacres, etc...
This panorama shows that our world is not the best of all worlds. But the beginning of a new year is a propitious time to reflect and renew our spirits, resolutions, and intentions, to unite commitments and efforts to make our nation and humanity in its entirety the best possible space for life, kind and abundant life, a new and happy human life for all.
Achieving the world of our dreams is the task that commits us all every day. It is a task executed with the sum of new and better attitudes, words, and the daily actions of all.
The new society, the new world we dream of, will only be possible if we first build, in each one of us, a better human being. Social structures, institutions, and organizations will be new and better if the people who create and shape them are, first, new, and better human beings, better people, better citizens.
We must begin to be men and women free from fear, ambition, greed, hatred, resentment, what people will say, flattery, and attachment to riches. The new humanity and world we dream of require men and women to be free from lies, pride, hypocrisy, servility, selfishness, individualism, and consumerism. This new world must be free from intolerance, inequality, injustice, violence, discrimination, corruption, and death.
The world we must build needs all of us to be capable of loving, capable of building forgiveness, justice, truth, generosity, and service, and capable of building abundant life. Today’s world needs us to be capable of solidarity and freedom, dialogue, and participation in the search for the common good, and capable of respect for cultures, differences, diversity, and nature.
Our current situation demands the commitment of us all to build human societies in which life takes precedence over any other interest, in which people come before things, ethics before technology, service before power, and the well-being of all before the wallet of any one person. The person is more important than the business and wealth, the transcendent and permanent more important than the material, and the transient is more important than having.
In short, the world needs all of us to be human beings capable of humanity in fraternity.
I WISH EVERYONE A HAPPY NEW YEAR. And it will be happy if EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US changes what we must change, improves what we must improve, renews ourselves, and becomes NEW men and women, and we strive, collectively, to make 2024 a truly NEW YEAR FOR ALL.
Mario J. Paredes is CEO of SOMOS Community Care, a network of 2,500 independent physicians—most of them primary care providers—serving close to a million of New York City’s most vulnerable Medicaid patients.Back to Newsroom