Happy new year, at least we hope


Happy new year!

Despite the fact that calendar rollovers are manmade conventions, people often consider the dawning of a new year to be a blank slate of sorts, an opportunity to start fresh. The new year is viewed as something that has unlimited promise.

In truth, that’s not the case. The promise of the new year often is like the promises given by politicians, and 365 days later it’s just as likely to be disappointing.

As much as we’d sometimes like to start everything from scratch, there is — and always will be — carryover from the previous year. Unlike a video game, life doesn’t magically reset because a lighted ball touches down in Times Square. The past won’t be swept away like confetti today.

We still have the same old problems — a dysfunctional federal government, heated debates over gun rights, worries over government spending, military still fighting overseas, gas pump prices that are certain to rise, unrest in the Middle East ... just to name a few.

What we need is real resolution to deal with these issues.

New year’s resolutions — usually to drop weight, spend more wisely, quit smoking or drinking, or to correct some bad habit or another — have a reputation, often deserved, of being little more than half-hearted attempts at breaking bad habits.

But what if we truly were resolute about improvement?

What if every member of Congress and the president were to resolve to get the nation’s financial house in order?

What if we were to resolve to stop the violence on our streets?

What if we were to resolve simply to be civil with each other, to listen to ideas and opinions that are not in line with ours in a respectful manner?

What if that spilled over into our legislatures and lawmakers were actually motivated to look for the good in every argument, conservative and liberal, and implement the parts that are in the best interests of our nation? That is what a compromise should be — the best of all sides, not the inclusion of the worst ideas simply to court votes.

In fact, what would happen if the Republicans and Democrats, for just one year, resolved to place party and personal political concerns aside for one year and concentrate solely on what’s best for America?

It would, indeed, be a happy new year — something easy to wish for, but actually accomplishing it would be remarkable.