As we look to 2018, I hope it can be with optimism that times will be good for all, that peace will reign, that goodwill and reasonableness will return to our political discourse. Is that a pipe dream?
I hope there will be no more senseless mass killings of worshipers, concert goers, people shopping, politicians playing baseball, or kids in school; that somehow, we will find a reasonable way to keep destructive weapons out of the hands of lunatics.
I hope our President will stop his foolish, ego-driven, almost maniacal response to the man-child tyrant of North Korea, a response that scares the you-know-what out of me.
I hope for an end to the destructive efforts of the Republican leadership in Congress to slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). They got their tax cut bonanza. Don't make the old, the sick, the vulnerable pay for it.
I hope the Trump administration will stop its dismantling of environmental protections so our planet is not destroyed. Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean global warming isn't real, Mr. President.
I hope the federal government and the states will strongly support public education so our next generations are prepared to do a better job than we have of guiding our nation, seeking peace and prosperity, finding cures for dread diseases and conserving our natural resources.
I hope for positive discussion among people of all races that recognizes prejudices that exist and seeks to find common ground.
I hope for strong support for our men and women in uniform who have been called upon to defend our nation and protect our peace, both while they are in service and after they have returned to civilian life -- with special attention to those who suffer from trauma.
Please, let's provide the financial support needed to find a cure for cancer and other destructive diseases, like Alzheimer's and AIDS. This is the wrong place to cut, President Trump.
All of these hopes are possible, but I am not optimistic that the current atmosphere in our nation will result in a 2018 that is much different, or better, than the year about to end.
But as I watch the ball drop on Times Square tomorrow night, it will be with hope in my heart. I pray it is justified.