By Qin Sun Stubis
As far as you can see here in the Northeast, 2012 is just another ordinary year with the hopeful greens of spring wiping out the gloomy greys of winter, fulfilling its annual promise of longer and brighter days ahead. But for many, this year is about more than appearances.
After all, this is the year millions think of as lucky, blessed, and joyful, while others fear it to be dangerous, cursed and deadly.
Asian cultures are embracing 2012, for this is the Year of the Dragon on the lunar calendar. It promises prosperity and success, a lucky time to start a family and business. Dragons are mythical creatures, capable of giving us all the happiness and good fortune we deserve, and they only come around once every twelve years.
But, Westerners see a dark side to this particular year, prophesied by the five-thousand-year-old “Mayan Long Count Calendar” to bring the Apocalypse. As it counts down to its last day on December 21, 2012, it is said that human civilization will also end.
Hard as it is to believe that the Earth and all its richness could come to a sudden end, it is also difficult to dismiss this ancient prediction, for the Mayans were very smart people. We cannot help but wonder if they knew something we don’t, or contrived some sort of mechanical device to be set off on that fatal appointed day.
After all, they not only constructed calendars more accurate than anything we have today, but created an ingenious hurricane warning device in the form of a perfect pinhole bored in solid stone and set on top of an impossibly high cliff at the Mexican ruins in Tulum. Once or twice a year, out of a perfectly calm blue sky, the mechanism detects the particular winds caused by faraway storms and it comes to life, begins to vibrate, and sends out a shrieking siren wail that can be heard for miles to warn residents of the approaching danger.
It is the kind of history-mystery that has propelled our imaginations to go wild and spin out all kinds of doomsday theories to explain this deadly forecast. We have visions of the Earth falling into a black hole or innocently spinning through space on a collision course with a giant meteor–sending chills of excitement and fear up our spines.
Ancient Mayan predictions, however, are not the only things that have made us feel grim and vulnerable these days. For far too long, America has been fighting a costly war against terrorism and battling a traumatic economic recession. For millions who have lost their jobs and homes, the world has already collapsed and their lives have been crushed.
Internationally, the Greek debt crisis has been keeping us on our toes, worrying about a “Domino Effect” that could send the entire world economy to its doom. Now, with the intensifying Syria and Mideast upheaval, gas pumps threaten to suck dry what’s left in our lean wallets, leaving many in misery and fear that our world is indeed, heading toward an apocalyptic end. After all, we are highly suggest- ible human beings, perpetually affected by our environment.
The truth is that our sky is less likely to fall because of an extraterrestrial rock or the prediction of an ancient calendar, than from our own wrong doing. As a race, we’re facing many uncertainties, but know one thing for sure: There is no quick fix for our present problems, whether domestic or international, for they’ve been created over an extended period of time and are complicated. But we are a strong species and have always survived and persevered. Panicking like Chicken Little and his friends is useless and can only be harmful.
We also know that strong leadership and working together are the keys to overcome any crisis, especially right at this moment. As we embark on our pivotal presidential election this year, don’t forget we are voting for a strong leader who has a proven track record of protecting this nation and this world, a commander-in-chief who places the people before personal interest. More than dragons and ancient calendars, we need a leader of integrity, wisdom and compassion to keep us together and hold up the sky.
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