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Published: Friday, 1/9/2009

Remaining positive will help

IT'S hard to be positive when your world is in a rut. And these days, the economic malaise alone has folks feeling a lot more like the perpetually oppressed Eeyore than the bouncy Tigger in Winnie the Pooh's forest.

Being a new year and all, I have the perfect resolution for what ails us in 2009. As the news on both domestic and foreign fronts goes from bad to downright bleak, what we need to combat the onslaught of worrisome developments is a new resolve to summon more positive thinking.

True, it may not be enough to preserve what sanity one still retains in a climate of gathering doom, but it's worth a shot, no?Besides, it has to be better than hee-hawing about everything going to hell in a hand-basket like a depressed beast of burden.

Braying about impending disaster may be cathartic for some, but the negativity can be noxious. So, starting no later than now, let's embrace a new year's resolution to be more positive about the future no matter how difficult the challenge.

It may take awhile for core pessimists to truly regard the glass as half full of murky water instead of half empty, but we've got a year. And with conviction, old cynics like me might still learn new tricks.

You never know. Hey, January has just debuted and I'm already feeling pretty positive about a few things in 2009. For example, I'm positive my son will lose his gloves, glasses, or shoes before the week is out. Again.

I'm positive that I'll forget what I was saying, or why I got up to get something at least once today. I will positively curse Ohio winters as I chisel the ice off the windshield in the morning while ducking snowballs from kids who love cursed Ohio winters.

In the new year I'm positive I will pay more for gasoline, groceries, and every fee-collecting event, membership, organization, or school activity on the calendar. Same goes for municipal services, trash collection, utilities, cable, and every other public enterprise wont to pass along the pain of budget constraints or inflated operating costs.

I'm positive the economy will get worse before it gets better but keep my fingers crossed that needed change will stem the flood of job losses and put people back to work. I'm positive history will be made on Jan. 20 and a young leader named Barack Obama will drive the nation out of its ditch.

He's off to a good start with his cabinet picks except for Bill Richardson, who, I'm positive, is up to his ears in dirt. But the selection of Leon Panetta to head the CIA is a positive move that should signal a welcomed change in the way government approaches terror and terrorism.

I'm positive Mr. Obama will not be perfect. No president or administration is. But the incoming team can't be any worse than the outgoing one.

And speaking of the notorious Bush cabal, I'm positive it will sneak through at least a couple more last-minute edicts to change the law regardless of the consequences. It's yet another reason the country will heave a collective sigh of relief when President Obama moves into the White House and George W. Bush is banished to the Texas brush for good.

Even though he can't do any more harm to the nation, he'll leave plenty of baggage behind for the new administration. I'm positive the Middle East will be inflamed for decades, and with every mortar shell that goes astray, whole new generations of hate and militancy will be inspired to continue the fury.

I'm positive the instability and violence unleashed in Iraq by the Bush War will simmer for years, but equally positive U.S. troops will leave that nightmare in months. I'm also positive that more soldiers will be added to the American contingent in Afghanistan, where the military focus should have been all along.

Back on Capitol Hill, I'm positive the U.S. Senate will ultimately seat Roland Burris as the junior senator from Illinois and comedian-turned-politician Al Franken as Minnesota's next senator.I'm positive there will be disagreements on both sides of the aisle, but hopeful that at least the rancor, pettiness, and partisanship can be dialed down a tad in 2009 to get the country back on its feet sooner than later.

In the meantime, dear reader, if you have a roof over your head, food on the table, and your family isn't suffering anything more serious than sniffles and lost mittens, thank God and make a resolution to lose the blues that keep you in a rut. It's worth a try. I'm positive.

Marilou Johanek is a Blade commentary writer.

Contact her at: mjohanek@theblade.com



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