It’s time for new year’s resolutions, but I’ll keep my to-do list private. This column speaks instead to wishes, the things I would like to happen in 2014.
Somewhat like personal resolutions, my wishes may appear fanciful or at least naïve. But momentous actions often begin with dreams, and dreams have no limits. So here are a few of my wishes for the coming year, in no order of priority.
• Our political leaders, both federal and state, will govern in the true spirit of the Constitution, captured in the preamble “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
• Fiscal (tax-and-spend) and monetary policies will be based on established needs to give meaning to these constitutional principles, not to conform to ideological boundaries.
• A priority domestic policy will be early-childhood development, including eliminating poverty as the controlling factor in children’s lives, ensuring health and safety through nurturing child care programs, and pre-kindergarten education.
• President Obama will earn his Nobel Peace Prize by ending this country’s military engagements and bringing American forces home from abroad, except in cases of clear and present danger to national interests.
• Strident opponents of the Affordable Care Act will cease their obstructionist actions and work to improve the program and its implementation.
• Bipartisan leadership will diminish Nevada’s dependence on gaming and mining interests, with a corresponding reduction in the political influence of those industries.
• Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform. It is in the national interests to do so and it is compassionate toward undocumented immigrants. In short, it is a moral imperative.
• Efforts will be mobilized to have Nevada join the 46 states that have annual legislative sessions and to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
• A new spirit will arise to treat all people with respect and dignity without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, creed, color, sexual orientation or gender identity.
• President Obama will expedite the trial of Guantanamo prisoners in civilian courts or return prisoners to their home countries. The prison can remain open, as Congress dictates, but empty. It is unconstitutional, unconscionable and contrary to American interests to hold prisoners for more than a decade without trying and charging them.
• Religious leaders and institutions throughout the world will follow the leadership of Pope Francis, whose humility, compassion for the poor and the unfortunate, and outreach have captured the imagination of people of all faiths. Can we not all adopt his simple standard: “Who am I to judge?”
• Local, state and national governments will adopt realistic and effective gun-safety and, yes, gun-control laws to minimize senseless and tragic use of those weapons, without infringing Fourth Amendment rights.
• There will be successful diplomacy to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran’s nuclear program and the Syrian civil war.
• Finally, there will be a magical reawakening in Congress resulting in bipartisan cooperation and the rejection of an anarchic anti-government mentality.
Bo Statham is a retired lawyer, congressional aide and businessman. He lives in Gardnerville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.