2017: For Better or For Worse!

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AMERICA’S CONFLICTED FUTURE--After the craziness of an election cycle that was as historic as anything we've ever seen, and after a host of celebrity deaths and world turbulence that defied description, 2016 is coming to an end.  So what, we're all asking, does 2017 bring to us all? So what adventures, good or bad, await us?  What themes await us?  Here are my predictions--and while arguably necessary, and arguably unavoidable, I can't say these predictions are all that pretty ... so here we go! 

For better or for worse, the majority of the nation will move politically and economically to the right, while California and some of the coastal states and larger midwest cities will attempt to lurch to the left ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, Republicans throughout the nation will be divided among those who fear this nation is losing its conservative values (and/or its Christian values) versus those who claim that true conservative and Christian values have been lost by the so-called "political establishment" ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, Democrats throughout the nation will be divided among those who fear this nation is losing its focus on civil rights and inclusion (and/or its Constitutional values) versus those who claim that true liberal and representative values have been lost by the so-called "political establishment"... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, we will hear from many that the rights of immigrants are being squashed, and we will also hear from many that the rights of "true immigrants" (who follow current immigration law) and native-born Americans are being squashed ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, we will hear from many that the civil rights of African-Americans and other ethnicities are being attacked, and we will also hear from many that those claiming to be "civil rights advocates" are the ones truly overseeing the attacks on civil rights of the same African-Americans and other ethnicities ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, American Jews will struggle between a traditional tendency to lean Democratic (or moderate Republican) versus an acknowledgement that Jews are under worldwide attack and require a new conservative leaning ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be much anger and alarm about the public sector pension and debt crises of our cities, states and nation, versus those who insist on defending the rights and benefits of our local and national civil service ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be more defense spending but with a simultaneous debate on how to best focus on how to spend on our defense (both in financial and human costs) ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be a push to add the entirety of the city of Jerusalem into the nation of Israel as a result of recent political events, and after eight years of our current foreign policy...and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be heightened rivalry, and perhaps military action, between the nations of Israel and Iran as a result of recent political events, and after eight years of our current foreign policy ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be closer and altered ties between the United States, its western and eastern European allies, and Russia, with a new focus on "North versus South" rather than the old "West versus East" conflict ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be new economic and political rivalries between China and both its Asian neighbors and the United States ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be an emphasis placed on "Buy American" and "American innovation and exclusivity" versus a push for a more global approach to economics ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be a variety of civil, economic, and perhaps even military, rivalries between the United States and its immediate neighbors to the south (Mexico and Cuba) ... and there will be conflict. 

For better or for worse, there will be a major emphasis on either internal reform within the Muslim world (both secular and religious in nature), with accompanying divisions between Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbors ... and there will be conflict. 

Yet here's the rub ... and hopefully a happy ending to these horrific conflicts: 

For better or for worse,  these conflicts can be resolved--some peacefully, some decidedly NOT peacefully, if cities, states, and nations all learn to balance what THEY can do better, and what THEY can do more, while demanding the same of their neighbors. 

Happy Holidays and New Year to All!  Happy 2017, and may good health, happiness, and prosperity be in your future!

 

(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties.  He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at  alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)

-cw

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