The New Year of 2012, a general election year, will be a year when the fortunes of political parties and politicians will rise and fall; it will be a year of unprecedented social and ideological confrontation; most important, it will be a year when "we the people" once again have the opportunity -- the obligation -- to make necessary adjustments or corrections to the course of our society, our nation, even the world.
Call me pretentious, presumptuous or both, but I hope to influence such course corrections -- even if it is in a minuscule way -- through my actions, my writings and my vote. To that end I make the following New Year's resolutions:
• I will do my best to live by our traditional "American Values," but I will not allow those Values to be used as a tool to deny others their inalienable rights.
• I will help make our nation safe from terrorist or foreign threats or attacks, but I will not tolerate the use of national security as a justification for denying our own citizens their Constitutional rights or for depriving others of their basic human rights and dignity.
• I will not accuse those who legitimately feel that military force must be used of being warmongers, but neither will I condone the use of "un-American," "unpatriotic" or similar labels to vilify those who in good conscience oppose military action.
• I will dismiss out of hand accusations that not supporting a military action implies not "supporting the troops." On the other hand, I will insist that when we must send our troops into harm's way, we truly support them by providing them with the best protection and equipment on the battlefield and the best care, honor and gratitude when they return home.
• I will support strengthening our borders and enforcing our immigration laws, while opposing any efforts to massively uproot millions of law-abiding families and the persecution of undocumented aliens based solely on racial profiling.
• I will continue to hope for a quick economic recovery, but I will spurn those who would obstruct or forestall such a recovery for political opportunism.
• I will acknowledge that people can express disapproval of or feel uncomfortable around those of a different sexual orientation, but I will not condone demonizing, ostracizing and legislating against gays and lesbians.
• Similarly, I understand that many Americans oppose abortion on religious or moral grounds, but I will also recognize that some women resort to such a procedure under certain circumstances.
• I will continue to proudly proclaim that America is the greatest country in the world, but I will not approve the use of our good fortunes to deride or denigrate other countries, societies, religions or customs.
• I agree with those who say that discrimination in America has decreased, but I maintain that we still have work to do and I will certainly call out bigotry when and where I see it.
• I am also grateful that poverty in America has diminished, but I will not turn a blind eye to the poverty and misery that still exist in the greatest country in the world, nor will I permit political, racial or work ethics labels to be attached to or associated with such conditions.
• I will expect that those politicians who tout family values truly live up to those values and not merely use them as conveniently timed political epiphanies.
• I expect those politicians who want to "take our country back" to explain exactly from whom they want to take "their" country back; those who call themselves "real Americans" to explain to the rest of us why we are not real Americans; those who cry "Restore America," to tell us "to what?"
• Finally, while I will never call for the "socialization" of America, I firmly believe that America's fortunes call for a stronger and wider safety net for the sick, the disadvantaged and disabled, the poor, the unemployed and the old. I call claims that such a direction in America represents "class warfare," "redistribution of wealth," promoting an "entitlement society" or any other similar sloganeering, self-serving political pandering.
America does not have to choose between continuing to be the greatest nation on earth and being a compassionate, tolerant, inclusive and united society. It is the latter that has made America great. The Ship of State, America, may need to make some course adjustments in 2012, but certainly not a complete course reversal.
Resolve to be presumptuous and pretentious in the New Year! It promises to be a decisive year.
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