Resolutions For The New Year - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

Resolutions For The New Year

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Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2018 1:19 pm

As has been my custom over the years, I offer herewith suggested resolutions for the new year for those who may be too busy to come up with their own. Feel free to pick and choose and don’t be too hard on yourselves if you sometimes fail to keep them. Most people do fail. We’re human.

First and foremost, we might all resolve to do our part to help reduce the bitterness that so often seems to accompany any discussion over national issues we disagree on. We can at least make the effort to listen to those we with whom we disagree rather than just focusing on what we’re going to say in rebuttal. We may not find opposing arguments persuasive, but at least we may better understand where the other person is coming from and perhaps learn something new in the process. Young people may especially benefit from this advice. Refusing to listen to opposing views or shouting them down does not lend credibility to you or to your viewpoint. Neither does attacking the person rather than the viewpoint.

Politicians should resolve to remember that their main purpose in office is to serve the people that elected them and the region that they represent, not to attain and preserve power and build a career. Our founders did not envision politics as a lifelong career but rather as an opportunity to serve their country and the citizens they represent. There is a servant aspect to leadership and it is conspicuously absent among many officeholders today. We are much too consumed by partisan politics in America today and it is increasing divisions among us. Officeholders spend far too much time building careers and posturing for reelection instead of doing what they were elected to do.

Congratulations to Democrats who won midterm elections. Your party will control the House of Representatives, the People’s House. Resolve to remember that you were elected to serve the people you represent, not some party mandate like impeaching the president or opposing everything he favors. Such mandates do not constitute a strategy for governing. Crafting quality legislation that a majority can support and that addresses America’s real needs is your job. Don’t waste the next two years on efforts to impeach the president that will never survive in a GOP-controlled Senate but will further divide the country and give comfort to China, Russia and others whose goals include sowing in Americans a distrust of their leaders and our democratic form of government.

By the same token, Republicans should resolve to cease efforts to get Hillary Clinton convicted of something. Whether or not you feel that she committed serious errors in judgment, it is dangerous policy to seek criminal sanctions against political enemies who held high office. It invites retribution and discourages talented people from running for high office. It reduces us to the level of totalitarian dictatorships and banana republics whose leaders often cling to power because their freedom may depend upon retaining that power.

Too many colleges and universities have become centers of liberal thinking. Surveys consistently show that faculties and administrative staffs consist overwhelmingly of liberals. Conservatives are, to put it mildly, underrepresented. Students should be exposed to a variety of viewpoints including some they may disagree with. They should not be permitted to dictate who is allowed to speak on campus or to disrupt speakers with whom they disagree. While there should be no political litmus test for prospective faculty members, university leaders should resolve to seek more balance in faculties and ensure that students are exposed to a variety of views and philosophies.

Journalists should resolve to be more objective in reporting news. A news story should deal with facts and observations, not the reporter’s personal opinions. Op-eds, columns and editorials, not news stories, are the places for the writer’s opinions. Too many news stories today are laced with adjectives and phrases that reveal, sometimes subtly, sometimes less so, the reporter’s bias. Too many headlines reveal the newspaper’s political biases. This is what critics mean by fake news. It reduces their faith in the media to report the news accurately. Journalists should start taking more of that criticism seriously.

Finally, all of us should resolve to reflect on our news sources. Our own political viewpoints are influenced largely by them. If we always read, watch and listen to commentaries, editorials from the same sources just because we agree with them, then we are just reinforcing our own biases.

May your new year be happy, safe, healthy and stress-free.

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