Editorial: Resolutions for citizenship
New Year’s Day is when all those things we have promised ourselves we will do suddenly seem to come due.
We will lose those 10 pounds. We will start jogging. We will drink water and eat more leafy greens.
But maybe we need to apply those principles to more than our waistlines and our step counts. Maybe we need to have resolutions as residents of our communities and citizens of the world.
This year, let’s make sure that we are engaged with what is happening around us and see what kind of difference it can make, from local school boards to state government to what’s happening in Washington.
It is easy to focus on “build that wall,” especially when that southern border barrier seems to be the major stumbling block in a federal government shutdown. But let’s remember that was not the only building project our leaders have talked about.
Infrastructure development has been a campaign issue through multiple presidents and lots of legislators. Maybe they’ve all forgotten. Let’s make planning and organization a priority and remind them that infrastructure isn’t just a far-away idea. It’s the bedrock of where we live, and putting money there is putting time and attention in the backyard of every voter.
January is everyone’s favorite time to make promises about a healthy new year, but diet and exercise takes you only so far. Break a leg or end up in a car crash and the amount of kale you eat won’t be a factor. We need to remember that in today’s medical landscape, health insurance is critical. It’s not just an Obamacare thing or about Donald Trump’s promises of something “much better.”
In the United States, the health care issue is a big deal for everybody. In Pennsylvania — and specifically the Greater Pittsburgh area — it is less abstract as people are dealing with the consequences of what can happen when the government lets industry sort things out for themselves. We are months away from little old ladies counting out thousands of dollars in socked-away nickels to pay for surgery before they can be admitted to some hospitals.
So let’s resolve to watch our carbs and our fat grams, sure, but let’s also read up on what our leaders are saying about health care and who is going to pay for it and how companies are going to be monitored and regulated because maybe saturated fat won’t be as big a threat as paying $1,000 a month for insurance and still not being able to afford to see a doctor.
And while we’re at it, let’s just resolve to read up on whatever we can. Let’s not take things for granted when that guy from work or your friend from church or the cousin you see twice a year shares something on social media. Let’s remember that the internet is a fantastic tool that still lets people distribute things that might have no basis in reality.
We have a whole new year to work on being the best neighbors and voters and people we can be. Let’s not waste it.