December 31, 2013

Looking back, looking ahead

The Roman god Janus, after whom the month of January is named, had two faces, one looking ahead and one looking back. By coincidence, or not, the Romans had a tradition at the temple of Janus. When Rome was at war, the gates were open. When Rome was at peace, which at times wasn't all that often, the gates were closed.

Looking back, 2013 was an amazing year in West Virginia. A year of grace, even. Several important victories for social justice were won. Health insurance was hugely expanded--at last word, over 83,000 working West Virginians were about to gain coverage for the expanded Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

The state also acted to expand early childhood education, reduce prison overcrowding, improve school nutrition, and restore funding for child care and family violence prevention programs. Coal miners and retirees also won a huge victory with Patriot Coal.

The saying says that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place. Statisticians sometimes talk about reversion to the mean, which means that hot streaks end. And sometimes in my life, it seems I've had to pay in blood for every good day.

I don't know what 2014 will hold. We may have to pay heavily for 2013's good fortune. If so, so be it. The gates of the temple of Janus are always open in the fight for social justice.

I'm grateful to all my friends and comrades in the struggle...which is about to heat up again.

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