Here's to the new decade, the new century, the new millennium: ­­ May we be guided by a renewed sense of justice and equality.

­­ May we come to terms with our racism and hatred.

­­ May we make sure that religion does not enter our public schools; that vouchers be used to send our right-wing brethren to new and better opportunities abroad; and that teachers be allowed to educate, not teach Sunday school.

­­ May we come to see that our schools, as they are presently designed, could be made into factories and prisons with very little effort.

­­ May we end homelessness in this country. With nowhere to call your home, you become less than human. The wealth of Bill Gates alone could accomplish this. We need to find our priorities.

­­ May we come to understand that diversity is important to life itself. There is no need to be fearful of others. Kids should not be taught to not talk to strangers. We were all at one time unknown to one another. Fear drives us behind closed doors and gated communities. When will this end if not with our children'?

­­ May we get over our homophobia. Humans are humans. No one knows for sure why some people prefer the same sex. In the scheme of things, what possible difference does it make? Friendship, love and togetherness transcend sex.

­­ May people with disabilities be given equal chances at a happy and productive life. Our fears of differentness sometimes render us heartless.

­­ A recent study has shown that many people who would benefit from counseling will not seek it because of the stigma attached. May we get over such nonsense. If you gossip and carry on about someone you know who is having difficulties and is seeking help, you should be ashamed of yourself.

­­ May we come to understand that receiving health care is not a privilege; it is a right. Everyone in this country deserves the same level of care that Bill Gates can afford. Otherwise it's not right.

­­ May we come to understand that the making of unreasonable profit can no longer be allowed to prevail over the rights of people to be paid a reasonable living wage. Why should someone work their butt off to make someone else super-rich? It doesn't make any sense. It never has. Maybe the next millennium will bring an answer to this age-old injustice.

­­ Money cannot continue to be made at the expense of the environment. May we come to understand that this has to end. We have nowhere else to go. There is no second chance. The Earth is our mother. Would you poison your mother to make a buck'? Our survival in the next millennium calls us to come to terms with the natural world. There is an old native American saying that states our decisions should take into account seven generations into the future. Amen.

­­ May we come to understand that no one concept of God needs to prevail. The world doesn't need missionaries; it needs activists. Every culture believes in a higher power. They don't need what we're selling. They may need a helping hand. If so, we should give it with unconditional love, not with an ulterior motive.

­­ May we see that putting people to death in the name of justice and revenge is a violent act that will not help us in our attempt to live together in peace. Meeting violence with violence is not the act of an enlightened society. It is the perpetuation of evil. We become the sons and daughters of the Devil. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

­­ May we come to our senses concerning war and defense budgets. Hand to hand combat had its limitations. You had to at least be within range. You engaged the enemy. There was a relationship that had to be established, however wrong it might have been. Our warfare today is inhuman and cowardly. You never have to look anyone in the eye or watch them bleed. It's all computerized, neat and clean and emotion free. If the United States does not lead the world away from this madness, who will?

­­ May we spend as much time rehabilitating those in prison as we do recycling our junk.

­­ May we understand that January 1, 2000 is just another day in the cycle of life. Make the most of it.

­­ The call is simple and comes from unlikely sources: ''Can't we just all get along.''

In the infamous words of many a right-wing politician, ''God bless you, each and every Christian one of you.''

Happy new millennium. It's a brand new day. And remember, if you drink, don't talk.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online December 28, 1999

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