Resolutions might be easy to make. The hard part is keeping them. Following are some possible resolutions we could make for 2014.
Let's work toward world peace. That means bringing everyone to the table, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. Let's invite the disenfranchised, such as the Palestinians and unrecognized Native American tribes. And let's give them a voice. And then let's listen. And then let's work toward a solution. Because if we don't at least try to work together to make the world equitable for everyone, things such as terrorism will inevitably come back to haunt us.
Let's work toward a balanced budget. Back in the 1930s, some people thought it was a radical idea to have people work for a dollar a day for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Well, people get a lot more than that for doing nothing at all. Let's substitute our welfare programs for work programs.
Let's address the issue of mental health. Mental health is not something that impacts the individual. It's something that impacts society. And until we deal with the problems and challenges of mental health head-on, nationally and statewide, mental health will continue to be a problem. All you have to do is look at the number of people who are incarcerated or drug-dependent who also have mental-health problems. Then you realize that we as a society are paying to fix a problem that should probably have never happened to begin with.
Let's make college affordable again. If that means creating a program in which young people perform public service for a certain number of years, such as VISTA, to qualify for college grants, then let's do it. That might be a great way to deal with a lot of our nation's problems plus our crumbling infrastructure.
Let's create a national dialogue on the importance of the family. Remember Ward and June and Wally and the Beave? Well, maybe that wasn't such a corny idea after all.
Finally, let's reexamine some of our basic institutions such as childcare and eldercare. Are they working? Can afford them? Are they broken? Let's sit down as a nation and find a way to make these services available to everyone - regardless of income.
None of these problems can be solved in a year or even five years. But if we start to find solutions, life will be a lot better for everyone.
And that's the way it should be.