As we ring in 2015, let’s remember some of the good things that happened in 2014 that will bring benefits in the New Year. I celebrated marriage equality becoming law in more states than we could ever have imagined and Muriel Bowser winning the D.C. mayor’s race and taking office on Jan. 2.
She got off to a good start with her appointments, leading with Rashad Young as the new city administrator. She deftly worked with Mayor Gray to move forward the soccer stadium deal and joined with those pushing D.C. as the site of the 2024 Summer Olympics. We elected Karl Racine our first independent attorney general. The Ready for Hillary PAC made history by generating more than three million supporters and 100,000 contributors all for the candidate who has yet to announce she is running.
Now if only when the clock strikes midnight, and the ball in Times Square lights up the sign saying 2015 is here, all our old problems would go away and we were able to start with a clean slate. Climate change wouldn’t be such a problem; there would be no continuing war in Afghanistan and ISIS wouldn’t be threatening so that we are looking at reentering a war in Iraq. The Tea Party would be gone and we might still be deceiving ourselves about having a justice system that treats everyone equally. It would be a little like Congress. When the session ends all the bills introduced that haven’t been acted on disappear and are only reintroduced if anyone is still interested.
Alas, that doesn’t happen. So we enter 2015 facing the problems of 2014 that have no clear solutions and are no closer to being solved than they were at 11:59 on Dec. 31. We continue to cringe when listening to Dick Cheney make tortuous explanations of why he doesn’t think we committed torture; watch Republicans still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act; and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the latest reincarnation of Joe McCarthy, continuing to make life tough for new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.) who is bad enough on his own. We can anticipate the new Congress accomplishing as little as the last one.
So for 2015 we may want to make some New Year’s resolutions beyond those that call for going on a diet and going to the gym more often. Although those are great and I have already made them myself, maybe we can resolve to take a little more responsibility to make our world better.
Resolve that we will be better citizens beginning with a commitment to always vote and talk to everyone we know about how important that is. Resolve to fight any Republican initiatives that make it more difficult for people to do so.
Each of us could resolve to write a letter to the president, a senator or member of Congress, telling them what you expect them to do to make the world better. Share your ideas, then resolve to choose a favorite cause or charity and commit either volunteer time or a donation, even better do both. Resolve that the next time you hear yourself complaining about something whether it is the traffic, the snow not being cleaned from the streets after a storm or something else that annoys you, that you will take a few minutes and figure out some action you can take to fix it. Speak up and speak out and you will be amazed at what it can accomplish and how much better it will make you feel.
This can be a year of change. It can be the year that we make our justice system more equitable and the year that the world faces the reality of climate change and does something about it. It can be the year that the Supreme Court finally makes marriage equality the law of the land and the year that we bring our troops home from Afghanistan. May 2015 bring to you, your family and friends only joy, health and happiness. May it bring peace on Earth.