Aspirations for the new year 2023


Resolutions, particularly those associated with the new year, often become “bridges too far,” hopelessly unattainable. I gave up on personal New Year’s resolutions a long time ago because if failures were, as some wise man once said, steps towards success I’d be ridiculously healthy, wealthy and wise. What follows are not personal aspirations for 2023, but hopes for humanity, hopes that against all odds might just be attainable.

But first let me just indulge in a few soaring hopes, perhaps not attainable in just one year but worth striving for every year. I’m not a Catholic, yet I took note of the recent passing of Pope Benedict, a theologian of some renown, who said a few things before and during his papacy that are worth striving for, especially in this era of selfies, egos, TikTok and “the big me.”

“We must not be like children tossed about by the waves of trends of fashion and the latest novelty,” he said. This made me think of the short cycles of techie trends like the mythical siren songs luring us in, distracting us from purpose, and casting us repeatedly on the shoals of reality. Sometimes I feel like our society is drowning in the evanescence of technology, infecting our ability to face adversities presented by reality.

Further Benedict counseled for guidance that “gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false and deceit from truth.” Obstacles to the discernment of truth from deceit unfortunately rest somewhere in the human condition, not easily remedied except by good parenting, moral leadership, and the peace of mind that comes from honesty, integrity and truth. Misinformation, disinformation, lies and embellishments are cancers to the health and well-being of any society.

But I digress. Beyond these few soaring hopes for “truth, justice and the American way,” here are some more targeted hopes that may be achievable in the year 2023:

1. An end to the war in Ukraine. This may depend on many variables including Vladimir Putin’s current state of mental and physical health, the continued military and economic support from the West, Russia’s fiscal ability to prosecute the war, and at the end of the fighting, a willingness to participate in negotiations that include an examination of Russian war crimes.

2. A bipartisan solution to our immigration issues. Resolution will indeed require a bipartisan political effort, an effort that eschews ideological differences for the common good of our country.

3. An economic working relationship with China that benefits both countries and works to foster global economic growth and reduced political tensions between these two towering nation states.

4. A détente of sorts between China and Taiwan in which China realizes from Russia’s disastrous attempts to annex Ukraine that there’s more downside than upside in trying to do the same with Taiwan; that a “sister-state” relationship is more advantageous to both Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.

5. A universal COVID vaccine sleuthed out by researchers in the labs of mRNA scientists neutralizing the never-ending mutations of the coronavirus and the never-ending need for boosters.

6. A return to normalcy in our public schools and universities. Education is one of the most important hallmarks of our great American experiment. It is the juice that feeds our exceptionalism. It is the antidote to our infections of misinformation and disinformation. It is the food that nourishes our young people’s sense of self-esteem and wards off the demons of disillusion and depression.

7. An end to the Ukraine crisis loosening the yoke that has stunted global economic growth and caused the spread of hunger and famine throughout much of the world.

8. Finally, civil discourse… Into the realm of wishful thinking? Perhaps. Here’s hoping that the mind of America embraces a return to civil discourse. Initial implementation is surprisingly easy. It begins at home, in our churches, synagogues and mosques, proliferating into our communities, states, and then our nation. The difficulty lies in the will and personal discipline to make it happen. There-in lies a New Year’s resolution proffered to all my readers, a resolve to make civil discourse a personal goal for 2023, one singular step at a time. Cheers!

Bill Sims is a Hillsboro resident, retired president of the Denver Council on Foreign Relations, an author and runs a small farm in Berrysville with his wife. He is a former educator, executive and foundation president.

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