For me, 2008 means a return to dreams, and a rejection of the raw and brutal pragmatism that has coarsened American life so much in the past half dozen or so years. It is a modest -- and of course -- Quixotic resolution, but at least one that is easy to bear in mind as the days take their toll on hope and faith. I would say that it is more important to dream and to act on those dreams when your nation is perpetually at war, when our environment is at the tipping point beyond which the survival of the planet becomes questionable, and our elected officials so flat-out practical and yet so very, very ineffectual, dead-eyed, and so heartbreakingly anemic in their endless capacity to show the results not of deeds, but only of more and more empty words and promises.
With that in mind, I have gone back and forth about supporting Hillary Clinton, with whom I had a compelling run in that foreshadowed some of the issues others have reported on since. But as this year ends, and even though there are things about her that I find admirable, it is many of those very same qualities that strike me as unfortunate -- a brittle thin-skinned falsity, a ferocity of purpose without a true and deep sense of standing for anything other than centralizing her own power, and an unfortunately dire humorlessness among them.
She has continued to navigate through all waters with so much caution and so much trimming of sails that it is impossible for me to commit my heart and mind to her campaign. I find her husband's surrogacy troubling, and unhelpful. I find the nature of her attacks on her competitor, Barack Obama, to be churlish and unworthy. She disappoints rather than inspires.
So for now, I am going to argue for idealism, for dreaming. I am resolved, finally, that at this moment, a vote for Hillary Clinton simply is simply a vote on the Wrong Side of History.
Therefore, I will pray that Mr. Obama continues to grow in stature, continues to ignite the secret almost-forgotten aspirations of an awakening American polity, and eventually deeply ignites the passions of those who do dare to hope and believe in a new and revitalized, idealistic, moral and generous United States.
Today, on the last day of a ruthless bitch of a year, I believe that our best hopes lie with Mr. Obama. He is, in my opinion, a dreamer, and an idealist, and most importantly - the most connected of all the candidates to the majority of American people, the one who most knows what "is" is, and therefore our best hope to regain stature, pride, and to find a path to peace that is both lasting and fierce. Our best hope to insure seven million uninsured children, and to free our economy from the Orwellian perpetual war machine -- turning it into one that can repair a crumbling national infra-structure, and a crumbling sense of national pride too. I believe in this man and his wife. I believe in their goodness, and their honor, and I would be proud to be led into the fiery, complicated, raging future that all of us face on this last day of 2007.
To further my resolution towards this being the Year of the Dreamer, I will endeavor to concentrate more on art than on commerce, whether as a screenwriter, TV writer, or playwright -- or even as a reader.
I will not shy away from a fight, and I will continue to believe like any good non-believer that George Bernard Shaw had it right when he puckishly declared, "Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you: Their tastes may not be the same." Yes, true, that, but reciprocity is a good doctrine any year, if you want to cover your bets.
That's about it for me. I don't want to push it. No big declarations of learning a new poem by heart every goddamn week. Or walking through Africa. I mean, I consider it an almost heroic accomplishment that I discovered the joys of running this year, and will keep that up, because now I see just how exercise can save you, lift you out of the slough of despond, and make life better all around. Being healthy means that you are strong enough to act on your dreams. For the people and the nation you love as much as for yourself. So I wish you all a very, very healthy 2008, and hope that the rest follows as best it can.
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