EDITORIAL: A new year is a time to look ahead

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Dec. 30—"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." —Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson had good reason to look to the future, living as he did at a time of momentous change in the political, technical and social fabric of the world.

As 2021 heads out the door and ushers in 2022, we can't help but look back with some disappointment that it wasn't more of an improvement over 2020.

The COVID-19 virus proved a tougher foe than we expected, aided and abetted by those who disregard vaccines and safety measures. It continues to cast a pall over everything. The growing pains of a re-started economy have frustrated many, though the overall economy is humming along nicely, bringing record gains on investments and unemployment numbers so low that it's hard to find workers.

Political tensions in our nation remain high. While no longer egged on by a president who liked to create chaos he could exploit, his supporters remain egged.

The larger world faces crisis, too. A Russian dictator threatens to pull the U.S. and other Western powers into war, dancing a dangerous jig on his border with the Ukraine. Despots impose their will on people in China, Myanmar, Belarus and other spots around the globe. Racial and nationalistic hate still drive too many to do terrible things to each other.

And all of us face the perils of climate change, which does not discriminate. Everyone, everywhere, is subject to the severe weather an overheating planet has wrought and threatens to bring.

But new years bring new beginnings and we look to the horizon with hope.

Scientists have made miraculous progress fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure, new strains bring new challenges, but vaccines have made a huge difference and drugs to treat the disease now exist. We expect the disease to become less of a burden on our lives, even if it never fully goes away.

The supply chain issues that dragged on the economy during much of 2021 have relented, helped along by a federal government that was engaged in finding solutions. The horror stories of bare store shelves greeting Christmas shoppers did not materialize and, in fact, spending on the holiday reached record numbers.

Real change for better lives begins at the individual level, and we urge all of you to consider changes that will improve your small corner of the world.

People make up families. Families make up communities. Communities make up states and nations, which in turn make up our world. A commitment to making things better for our circles of family and friends can have wide-ranging impact. Such efforts by many can bring much good, if only we have the will.

Of course, a new year will bring challenges, too. Some will be familiar and some will be things we never saw coming. That's part of living and, if we're honest, part of the excitement of life.

We'll look forward to seeing what 2022 brings to the world and to what the world brings to 2022. We'll do our best to keep an eye on it and, in the corner of the world under our care, tell you what's happening and help you understand it.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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