There is an irony in this New Year, beginning as it does with the same number as it ends -- with nothing in between. Just as Janus, the two-faced god for whom January is named, looks both forward and backward, we look backward and forward hoping for a future that holds resolution of the past's persistent perils.
We want to end the year with the books closed, with assets and liabilities balanced, with all accounts current and with a healthy bottom line. But instead, the books remain open. We see liabilities offsetting our assets and so many past due accounts that we have no way to determine whether we have profits or losses for the year.
To achieve our New Year's resolution demands that the will exemplified by New Yorkers as they dug out of tragedy or even as the citizens of Buffalo dig out of a 7-foot snowfall be generated among our leaders and ourselves to get on with life.
No virtue in vice: In the state of Ohio, that means Republican officeholders accept the responsibility the voters have given them to resolve all education funding issues -- K-12 as well as higher education. And responsibility for education is not achieved by GOP leaders chanting the mantra of "no new taxes" while they go in search of gambling revenue. Pursuing vice for any purpose is not a virtue. The state cannot move forward economically unless its people are educated.
The legislature must also resolve to do what's right for all the people of Ohio and decide on a reasonable redistricting plan. How can candidates contemplate running for district office if they don't know what area their district will comprise.
This also should be the year that the future of Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. is resolved. There can be no sweet smell of spring so long as the smell of corruption still lingers in the Mahoning Valley.
Municipalities and counties and their agencies and school districts should resolve to learn the art of compromise. As each jurisdiction or faction fights to get theirs, the greater good of the community is being lost. Partisanship and parochial outlooks are divisive not cohesive. And to paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, a community divided against itself cannot stand.
National vision: Could 2002 be the year that our nation's leaders finally come to realize that narrow outlooks do not create the vision for a great nation? Let them resolve to put the people ahead of politics. Let them do the right thing because it's right and not because a campaign contribution depends on it.
Just as Earth has warmed in the past year, so too have global hotspots become hotter. As we try to cool off Afghanistan, the conflict between India and Pakistan flares anew, and Palestinian terror groups fan the flames of war in the Middle East.
As the words of the Bob Dylan song echo from the 1960s, "How many deaths will it take till they learn that too many people have died?"
The people of the world cannot wait for an answer blowing in the wind. Answers do not just happen. Solutions to the world's problems -- or national, state or local problems -- do not magically appear. They require a firm resolve to change the old ways -- truly to ring out the old and ring in the new.
Each new year presents that opportunity. Perhaps more than ever before, 2002 needs us to make those resolutions to ring in a new and better year.