After everything that's happened over the past 12 months, I was starting to wonder if we'd get through this year with any survivors. I don't think I've ever seen a year in which so many noteworthy people had died.
At one point, I kindly joked that we needed to start wrapping other beloved celebrities in bubble wrap to protect them from the Wrath of 2016. After we lost Astronaut John Glenn and then actress Zsa Zsa Gabor this month, I'm thinking maybe we actually should've done that.
Now that we've managed to survive 2016, I'm looking to the new year with a sense of optimism and hope. I've even decided to stick to at least one new year's resolution, which should hopefully last more than two days.
While I usually break my resolutions fairly often and pretty quickly, I've always felt that it's not a bad idea to take a few minutes and come up with ways to make the new year a little bit better for ourselves and those we love. It allows us to recognize our own failings and gives us an incentive to resolve the things that tend to drag us down.
Whether it's giving up a bad habit, losing weight or looking at ways to improve our financial status, the new year gives us a chance to make a fresh start. The trick is finding ways to stay focused on those resolutions and make lasting, positive changes.
At the same time, New Years' resolutions don't need to be restricted to our personal lives. I believe they should extend across our nation and around the world in hopes that maybe mankind could start the new year with a commitment to make our world a better place for all of humanity.
With that in mind, I have a few new resolutions I'd like to recommend to our elected officials as well as the leaders of the different nations and powers around the world.
As Americans, let's resolve to extend an outreached hand of compassion and hope to those whose counties have been torn apart by war. In those instances where the men and women of our nation's military are called to engage hostile forces, let's ensure they have the manpower, equipment and support needed to ensure they successfully complete their missions and all return home to their families safely.
And before we engage in any future conflicts, let's make a resolution to ensure we have a plan in place to guarantee victory and remain committed to that goal. As we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can actually do more harm than good if we leave things unresolved, which then breaks down into complete chaos.
At the same time, let's resolve to ensure that those driven by ideologies of hatred and religious intolerance have no safe haven from which to operate anywhere on Earth. May they truly understand the error of their ways and the depths of their misdeeds with the option to find redemption in the eyes of humanity if they permanently choose to correct the error of their ways.
For the members of Congress who write the laws of this nation, let's resolve to end all the pointless bickering and finger pointing and to find a common ground from which we can work to make the lives of all Americans a little bit better. And when our representatives disagree, I challenge them to act as mature adults versus the childish behavior that continues to end up as 10-second sound bytes on the evening news.
I challenge our new president and members of Congress to start the new year with a resolution aimed at giving the American taxpayers a clear, concise plan of what they would do as the leaders of this nation.
That same resolution should extended down to the state level when our lawmakers return to session at the state capitol early next year. I urge all of them to resolve to stop wasting taxpayer dollars passing laws that are nothing more than solutions in search of a problem.
At the same time, I urge these lawmakers to stop the type of knee-jerk, shooting-from-the-hip stunts they've pulled in recent years. Instead, let's hope they commit to steering the entire state further into the 21st century versus focusing all of their attention to the Treasure Valley.
As a state and as a nation, let's resolve to reward innovation and hard work. Let's also stop penalizing hard-working Americans who continue to pay the lion's share of the nation's financial obligations while others are able to avoid shouldering their share of the burden.
Locally, I hope our county and city leaders take advantage of the economic momentum from this year and take it a few more steps forward to foster economic growth. Let's capitalize on the progress made to date to keep that momentum moving forward in the years to come.
Let's also ensure our city departments have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively and to spend taxpayer money wisely on tools and equipment that will lead to significant improvements in our communities. This includes ensuring our city streets get the attention they need so our cars, trucks and SUVs don't take an unnecessary beating from all the potholes scaring our roadways.
On a more personal note, let's stop being so hateful and disrespectful toward others in our community. If we disagree with their opinion, let's keep it to ourselves versus splashing it all over social media or engaging in unproductive gossip. Just once, let's be more respectful to others and never speak ill of them.
While we're at it, let's spend more time with our families, stop our bad habits and maybe shed a few pounds in the process. And let's hope those resolutions last, even if it's for a short time.
-- Brian S. Orban