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AULD LANG SYNE - By Charles Payne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

Robert Burns

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And surely you'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

Later tonight, millions of people around the world will sing this song popularized by Guy Lombardo decades ago. There are several interpretations of its meaning, but essentially it's a farewell or celebration of an ending. It's all about days gone by. For me, it also implies that days to come will be better. It has always been a bittersweet tune, yet tonight, in America, it just might be bitter. Auld Lang Syne is translated to former days and friends. In a nation ripped apart over what we'll be, fewer want to celebrate former days as friends have all of a sudden become enemies.

I think we should be melancholy about the past filled with pain, but more so with triumph; a nation that really kept its commitment to a more perfect union. I wince as many say out loud the country shouldn't be a slave to a 200-year old piece of paper (note the bible is a much older collection of paper). I worry when hard work and true sacrifice are greeted with contempt and punishment. Giving the government more money isn't morally right, and economically it's suicidal. Taking that money from small businesses and moderately successful Americans is simply a crime.

There is a great chance no deal will be made in this 11th hour of fiscal cliff talks, but we've already fallen off a different kind of cliff. There is no drinking up of kindness for those glorious days gone by. Instead, we drink a bitter ale of anger and envy while our government drinks a concoction of psychotic cough medicine that not only allows it to spend without mercy to our future, but with a kind of impunity that twists the notion of patriotism and fairness. We are being told our past is a lie and our heroes are myths. We are being told we were never tough individuals, but somehow a collective where the weakest links should get a cut of the spoils.

There could be a last minute deal, but it will not include the debt ceiling, which is good only if republicans have the guts to stand on conviction a couple months from now. By the same token, a nation that once feared Willie Horton will get a chance to attack the new great threat to America, couples earning more than $400,000 a year. There isn't a chance of spending being targeted, and that's the real problem.

I continue to say let's not panic. But, let's stay aware. There are so many potential scenarios, its best to wait for the official deal and go from there.

In the meantime, even though the agenda of many would erase the story of America as we know it, there is much to be thankful for and many reasons to look forward with enthusiasm. We still have the Constitution. We still have citizens willing to change their minds when they see the light, and maybe this is part of the script, maybe we have to stumble even more. Of course, this scares me for numerous reasons including the fact we aren't in this race alone. It's a shame to accept mediocrity when we used to only accept brilliance, and a nation divided along so many lines (income, race, education, et al) is eventually doomed.

Still, for today, drink up in kindness and live to fight for tomorrow.