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Wishes for 2014

Looking back, 2013 was a monumental year for a number of reasons. As we look forward to 2014, let’s hope that lessons were learned from the year’s missteps particularly in the areas of healthcare, race and education.

As the new year approaches, let’s hope that those expressing such vociferous opposition to healthcare finally recognize that healthcare is not a privilege or luxury but a right that all Americans deserve.

Americans are flocking to sign up for what is now known as Obamacare despite well publicized troubles with the website’s implementation and a seeming media campaign particularly from such organizations as the New York Times. What many opponents (who usually don’t have to worry about their own healthcare benefits) fail to understand is that many Americans know that healthcare is a catastrophic cost most increasingly can’t afford.

Let’s also hope for a little more racial enlightenment for those who think nothing of joking about AIDS in Africa on social media as Justine Sacco, a public relations executive for IAC a media company that runs a black dating site among other things, did as she sat on a plane taking her to the continent. The growing backlash on Twitter helped Sacco lose her job. Also finding his employment in peril is Phil Robertson who in addition to insulting gays and lesbians, opined that African Americans were both better off and happier under the Jim Crow system in his home state of Louisiana. Citing the lack of complaints from Black people he knew, Robertson the star of the reality show Duck Dynasty apparently did not consider that African Americans who voiced even minimal discontent to Whites were at risk of receiving a violent punishment. He would do well to read Isabel Wilkerson’s Warmth of Other Suns to understand the perspective of people he claims to know.

Locally, let’s hope and strive for a better educational system and experience for the children of Columbus. Columbus City Schools, the focus of a failed levy earlier this year, could serve as an illustration of how not to turn the public against one’s cause despite $3 million spent by the levy’s supporters. With scandals involving attendance and data manipulation among other things, Columbus is far from the only school district in the country facing challenges. However in their opposition to paying for yet another levy, many Columbus residents made it clear to both business and community leaders that they know having strong schools involves more than throwing money at a problem. Hopefully in 2014 both sides will come together to work on providing an education for Columbus students that allows them to compete globally.

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