Five New Year's hopes for American society

Here we are into another new year. It feels like the years seem to pass by more rapidly each time. I wish time, at least for me, would slow down more. As with many other Americans, I think about New Year resolutions or hopes.

Let me share with you five public hopes I have for 2011:

  1. I hope that President Obama will show more resolve in dealing with the Republicans. I’m all for compromise but that should entail a process and not a starting position, as the President too often seems to be inclined.

  2. I hope that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq truly begin to wind down. I don’t expect this, but the deaths of so many people in both countries -- including Americans -- are very much the result of U.S. intervention in both countries. Americans are dying in both countries for failed policies and for the questionable aggrandizement of an American empire based on corporate and military objectives.

  3. I hope that Americans will begin to realize again that they cannot depend on the political and economic elite -- both Democrats and Republicans -- to make major changes for the benefit of the American people. Only grass-roots struggles especially by progressive and liberal-minded people will achieve this. History instructs us that all significant reforms emanate from the bottom and not the reverse.

  4. I hope that Americans will begin to display a more charitable and humane attitude toward one another -- this includes the principle of aiding those in need. We need to help the unemployed and those who need government assistance for family and medical needs. We need to reject the unfounded notion that government is the problem.

  5. I hope that this charity and tolerance will extend to the strangers amongst us -- in particular immigrants, including undocumented immigrants. Here, as I have noted previously, I believe Catholics should take the lead based on the church’s embrace of immigrants. We need to call for new immigration laws -- including the DREAM Act -- that will allow a pathway to legalization and citizenship for those immigrants who have been here for years and have contributed to American society.

I have other hopes and dreams, but if these five come true I would be very pleased.

Happy New Year to all.

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