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A Happy New Year for America?

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As we look ahead to the promise of 2011, some newspapers' editorials are looking beyond their local community's needs and imparting messages that extend to all Americans, near and far. The same themes - austerity, recession, bipartisanship, leadership - show up in several editorials, indicating that the country's citizens are gearing up for another challenging year. Here, the best advice and solutions that newspaper editorial boards are giving to concerned Americans as they prepare and plan for the coming year:

Toast a fresh start for all...: "Perhaps you can remember when the thought of a brand new year -- even the very numeral -- was exciting," says a New York Times editorial. But we've adjusted to a "familiar," somber celebration in recent years. "The coming of the new year reminds us, again, that we live, as we always have, somewhere on a sliding scale between utopia and dystopia." But it also allows "a chance to start over" filled with "hope and renewal and recommitment." So while New Year's Ever is a "night for banishing regrets," we should then try to "do right by ourselves and one another."

...Including Obama and Congress...: "In coming weeks, the national government will go through the annual rituals of renewal, including the president's address to the new Congress," says a Washington Post editorial. Obama should consider delivering his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress, which is uncommon but promotes "polite discourse" among perceived foes. Let's set a different tone "as we start out on a new year and another daunting decade."

...And the economy, too: Although we have "some nagging negative indicators" of the U.S. economy "still lurking," says a Charleston Post and Courier editorial, there are reasons to be hopeful. South Carolina and other states have begun to turn things around a bit, and there are "positive trends" evident "in holiday sales, budding business growth and new jobs." Perhaps this "truly will be a 'Happy New Year' of revived prosperity.'"