What 2017 brings depends largely on us

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Well it is official and 2017 is upon us. Many of people that I have spoken to are not going to miss 2016 at all, but in retrospect, I find that there were many more good things in the year than bad. Although the bad were sometimes catastrophic, it is the wonderful things in life that make the rest of any year bearable.

Well it is official and 2017 is upon us. Many of people that I have spoken to are not going to miss 2016 at all, but in retrospect, I find that there were many more good things in the year than bad. Although the bad were sometimes catastrophic, it is the wonderful things in life that make the rest of any year bearable.

Like many others, I spent my holidays with my family and was fortunate to have all my children and grandchildren with us this year. We are making a huge adjustment in my household with my daughter and two of my grandsons now living in Texas. And so far, it has been a good move for her, but not having them here within a quick driving distance is a difficult pill to swallow.

Being a parent is many things and a job that never goes away. It takes a lot of love and time to ensure that the family unit stays together and it is even more difficult as the family grows and splits off to different directions. And with everything else going on in daily life both locally and nationally that can affect my family in one way or another, I believe that this year may be as challenging as last year.

But this is where we must choose our battles carefully. There are many possible things in the works that might affect our local community. Refugees and immigrants, healthcare, our local environment is some of the high stakes that are in jeopardy from the local to national level. California is digging deep to ensure that many of its liberal policies stay in place, regardless of what may come down the pipeline from the national level. This can be both good and bad depending on what we are talking about, but it is important as citizens that we make our voice heard at our local and state levels. California is not different than many other states, with divided disputes on these and other issues, but we as a people can make a mark on how state and local government can succeed by allowing state laws and practices that attempt to displace what we as voters have chosen. And state laws rule the land, as it should be so.

This year we will be fighting the legalization of marijuana from both sides of the fence. This is a perfect example of where state law has declined to adhere to federal law and it will be interesting to see how our communities react to this. Elections might be over, but the issues still remain. This new law is not welcomed in most parts of East County, but it is a law that every community will have to deal with.

Being the second larges population of Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants, the possibility of new immigration laws is a frightening thought for many. California is working on making its own policies regarding this, but will it be enough?

Regardless of where you stand on many of the controversial issues that we are facing as a nation and a state today it is imperative that the citizens become involved. This starts in your own backyard, your community, the place you call home. And your decisions need to be based on what you feel is best for you, your family and your community.

Although many will disagree, there is no right or wrong in what direction you decide to take on these decisive issues. It might be wrong in an opposing person’s view, but in a democracy, it is the will of the people as a whole that matters the most. This past election is a perfect example.

What I wish though for 2017 and whatever changes may come our way, is as a community we can work together to find common ground that all sides can live with. But this means that everyone has to be prepared to compromise, or we will spend our time in useless endeavors. Right or left, conservative or liberal, we have to find middle ground that fits every person in our community as best as possible. It is the right thing to do, and like many (most) people that I know, we are a part of both sides of the spectrum. Blending our ideas will make a better future and hopefully a better year.