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Anticipating a new year

It’s been a rough year, as evidenced by countless terrorist attacks, police shootings, protests and riots, the Zika virus, earthquakes and fires and, of course, an extremely contentious election. It’s now 2017 — time to start anew.

Some will begin the new year with a list of resolutions, others will not — and that’s OK. But may we suggest, whether you have a resolution, multiple resolutions or none at all, to make a genuine attempt to witness the upcoming year with clear eyes.

The fact is, the New Year promises to be challenging. Challenge number one: the transition of power that will happen, ready or not, come Friday, Jan. 20, when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office. Those who voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will have to find it within themselves to accept the new president and his style of leadership, and hope that rather than put the nation at risk, his decisions will benefit the U.S. 

But despite any needed optimism — always admirable — it will be of critical importance to keep tabs on the new president, how he governs and those whom he chooses as his advisors. Whether we agree with his decisions or not, it will be important to keep the commander-in-chief and his administration accountable. Should things work out well, Trump will deserve our praise. Should things work out poorly (and we hope they won’t), he will deserve our criticism and hopefully not only be able to accept it gracefully, but learn from it. 

But good government is a two-way street. The constituency must be aware and involved, and not take anything for granted. Don’t assume your rights are being respected. Don’t assume your concerns are being heard. Don’t assume your politicians are acting in your best interest. In fact, it’s sometimes said that it’s best to assume the worst but hope for the best. While we acknowledge the cynicism in that, we certainly think it behooves all citizens to be aware of what’s going on around the world — and in their backyard. 

How world affairs will be handled with Trump at the helm is of real concern to this newspaper. So far, he’s not proven himself to be easy to work with or willing to compromise. And there’s little security, we believe, with a leader who Twitters his thoughts daily rather than engage in real and meaningful dialogue. 

How will the rest of the world react to Trump? Will he damage our standing with our allies and weaken our stance with our enemies? We won’t know until after his inauguration, but we must prepare for the possibility that world relations will change dramatically, possibly for the worse. Let’s not be too pessimistic,  but let’s not avoid reality — and the reality is we are facing great change. 

It’s hard to say how the 2017 political season will work out — and how U.S. politics will affect the world situation. But whether you’re struggling with the election results or celebrating them, it’s important to remain engaged in the process and watchful of the results. No rose-colored glasses here. Clear eyes are best, even if they don’t like what they’re seeing.