My Hope For The New Year

Remember when you were a kid, the beginning of anything held wonderful possibilities. The start of a new school year, of the new football season or of winter break, all had the potential of being great and memorable.  My personal favorite was the start of summer vacation.  I have a feeling I’m not alone in that.  Certainly the start of the new year, 2014, is another beginning filled with great potential.  But, as we get older, one new year flows into the next and the next, and the specialness of new beginnings seems to get lost.  Certainly, our generation (the Baby Boomers) doesn’t seem to celebrate New Years Eve with the same gusto as our parents, and neither do our children.   Is it that we have lost faith in our ability to start fresh, make changes and meet the potential being held out to us?  As a nation can we muster the strength to push forward and make things better for our children and our grandchildren?

My generation tends to look back with nostalgia, but seems to spend less time looking forward.  Looking back is ok.  It is instructive and necessary to appreciate the past in order to view the future with realistic expectations.   However, as we enter this new year of 2014, we must do so with a clear understanding of what it is we hope for.  What do we want to achieve this year as a nation?  As my generation begins to build its legacy, we need to be clear minded as to what we want that legacy to be.  What do we need to do this year that will impact positively on the kind of world we leave for our children and our grandchildren?  While that may sound as if it requires something very significant from us, in reality, it needs to consist only of small positive steps forward.

New Year Sunrise
New Year Sunrise (Photo credit: joka2000)

So, what are my hopes for our nation as we approach the new year of 2014?  What are the things that I hope to see that will begin to move that legacy in a positive direction?  First, I hope to see a return to bipartisanship in our legislative bodies, along with a respect for the validity of disparate views and a willingness to compromise.  Second, I want to see respect for individual rights enhanced and protected.  Those include the right to vote, the right to an abortion and the right to same-sex marriage. Third, I hope for greater protection through new gun control legislation and respect for individual privacy.  Fourth, a true understanding that individuals sometimes find themselves in untenable circumstances through no fault of their own.  We therefore must stabilize the “safety net”, i.e food stamps and unemployment benefits etc, by removing them from the political arena.  Fifth, it is time to reform the Tax Code, decrease the gap of income inequality, and guarantee the solvency of Social Security and Medicare as well as the future of the ACA.  Finally, we need to bring our troops home and stop fighting wars of opportunity and opportunists.  We need to be rational about what it means for us to be secure as a nation.

These are my hopes for the new year.  2013 is behind us.  When the time comes to look back at 2014, I want to feel good about the choices we made.  Let’s feel that same excitement for a new beginning that we felt as kids.  Join me in wishing us all a happy, healthy, caring and fulfilling new year.

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