In '09, a wish for peace and a better economy

SOURCE: The Concord Monitor
By Monitor Staff
Posted: Friday, Jan. 2, 2009

Even when drawing up a wish list for 2009, it pays to remember campaign strategist James Carville's sage words of advice: "It's the economy, stupid." As the past eight years have proven, a rising tide doesn't necessarily lift all boats. Still, many things would improve for many people if the nation's economy rebounds, so that must be our first wish for the new year.

Coupled with that wish is the hope that the next presidential administration will not succumb to the intense lobbying efforts that killed past attempts at real health care reform. May 2009 be the year that the United States puts itself firmly on the path to universal, affordable health care. And as long as we're making big wishes, we'll once again hope that peace will allow the troops to come home from Iraq and Afghanistan and that America leads by example and convinces the world that quick and concerted action to slow climate change can and must be done.

On a more modest scale, let's hope that the state finds a way to balance its budget without slashing services to the growing number of people who need them. Above all, we hope that lawmakers continue to show the good sense and fortitude that's allowed them to reject slot machines and other forms of expanded gambling despite tough fiscal times. The state has enough problems without adding that to the list.

We hope that lawmakers aren't cowed by Gov. John Lynch's veto threat and vote, once again, to repeal the death penalty. New Hampshire hasn't used it in a lifetime, doesn't need it and should relegate that particular punishment to a more barbaric past.

While we're at it, we have wishes for Lynch, and a few other people too.

We hope that in 2009 the thought of a school funding amendment to the Constitution doesn't enter the governor's head.

We hope that U.S. Senator-elect Jeanne Shaheen discovers her inner Arnie Arnesen and becomes known as the firebrand of the Senate. Conversely, we hope that former governor John Sununu takes on the temperament of the Dalai Lama and, rather than carp and criticize from the sidelines, peacefully advises Republican lawmakers on how to help solve the state budget crisis.

We hope that Sen. Judd Gregg has an easy time adjusting to his role as both a senior statesman and a member of the minority. And we hope that Supreme Court Justice David Souter feels free to follow his heart and return to New Hampshire - and that when he hikes, hat pulled low over his eyes, he goes unrecognized.

As for the weather, there were floods, snowstorms, ice storms and a tornado in 2008. May the state be spared that quartet of disasters this year - and droughts, earthquakes and plagues of locusts, too.

We hope the Concord School Board reaches a swift and peaceful agreement with the city teachers on a new contract. We hope for the tempest-free adoption of a pay-to-throw city trash system, plenty of visitors for the new McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and customers for Red River Theatres. We'd like to see a tenant for the first floor of the Capital Commons, new employers for the North Country, a public kindergarten in Hudson, and peace and progress for those on all sides of the debate over the refurbishment of the Annicchiarico Theatre.

In keeping with these downsized times, think small, we thought, as we began this list. But wish small, win small, so as usual, we went for broke. Happy New Year.