On Our Toes for the New Years Race
The sun doesnt really stand still at the winter solstice, even though it feels that way for the two weeks of the year following December 21. Finally, we find the time to finish up old business. We take several deep breaths. Then we start all over again.
Now, ready or not, were like runners at the starting line in the 2004 race: poised, hopeful, energetic and confident that we can get it right this time.
We need to be on our toes for another reason, too. There are races being run in 2004 that can make winners and losers out of us. Here are a few:
- The General Assembly: Last years legislative session was a get-acquainted season of sniffing and whoofin. This year, the stakes on the table are real. Well see if Gov. Robert Ehrlich lets the General Assembly raise taxes on corporations to get us out of the budget woes afflicting Maryland.
In deciding how far and wide to permit gambling and under whose control our Maryland political leaders will confront more than short-term budget woes. Theyll run smack into questions about ethics and the type of society we want which should make for some 04 soul-searching in Annapolis.
- Presidential politics: The first act in the earliest and perhaps quickest presidential primary season is almost here: Iowa caucuses, January 19. Its become a cliché to say that an election is the most critical ever, but this year it could be true. In the coming months, well be debating the wisdom of war and how we distribute the nations wealth.
The outcome will determine whether our nation regains respect around the world and when and if America gives its citizens health insurance like every other industrialized nation.
- The Chesapeake Bay: Last year was the year of speaking hard truths. On the 20-year anniversary of the multi-state agreement to clean up the Chesapeake, people finally stood up to proclaim in unison that a lot of Bay restoration hasnt done diddly. Advocates and a new breed of Bay thinkers are challenging the strategies of the past, arguing that the best answer lies in sewage treatment. Well see in 2004 if they find the vast amount of money it will take to make a difference.
- Theres a personal question, too: What are we going to do to live better in 2004? Take a new class? Exercise more? Get really healthy and perhaps move our lives in different directions? We like to think that one new and better idea takes root in our lives each year.
Heres one: Ask yourself what makes you the happiest, and as Captain Picard would say, make it so. When we asked ourselves at Bay Weekly that question, we happened to be kayaking in the splendid weather that arrived with the new year.
Of course, you know what the answer was: Being on Chesapeake Bay. So if you have trouble finding us in 2004