By Joe Rector

Okay, 2016 is in the rearview mirror, and I say good riddance. Don’t get me wrong; I am always thankful for the time I have in this life, but the past year has had enough negatives to keep me from wanting to relive it. I’ll take the future… and hope. I’m pretty sure we all need to look for a “restart.” At least that’s what I’m calling for in 2017.

One thing that needs a restart is the world where news organizations deliver stories each day. Over the past year, many politicians and special interest groups have demonized newspapers and television newscasts. They are accused of being “biased” and “liberal.” Other groups have accused the media of pandering to the inconsequential events that surround one candidate. The simple truth is that both sectors of the press have fallen into a trap. Not enough news is available to fill up each 24-hour cycle. To continue to bring in advertising dollars, these establishments have begun making trivia newsworthy. They give twists to ordinary events; they analyze the simplest things, and both liberal and conservative stations and papers can come up with an endless supply of talking heads who will support their biased views.

It is time for the TRUE news media to push the restart button. Their roles are to report the news without slant, not make it. In times past, folks sat down in the evenings to watch Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley. Those legends reported the news but never editorialized it. We also got a half hour of local news twice a day. The newspapers gave more in-depth coverage of stories, but the material was based on facts, on the 5 W’s of “who, what when, where, and why. Sources that folks find on Facebook are NOT news organizations. They are sites that make up news or boldly lie about a story to make it favorable to their sides.

We also need a reset on the latest ideas about the U.S. and its place in the world. Too many of our leaders are pushing for a pull back from involvement in areas of the world. They declare that our only involvements should be with those countries that will provide benefits to us. That kind of thinking is swimming in ignorance. Isolating ourselves will not end problems. The void that we leave will be filled by another country, and its power and influence will grow as our decreases. To stop the spread of ideas that are in conflict with democracy, our country must remain a key force in the world and its affairs. No, we don’t have to be the policeman of the world, but we do have responsibilities as a superpower. Refusing to address countries and problems will eventually lead us to becoming a second-class country.

Most of all, the time has come for us to restart our dealings with others in our own country. The presidential election of 2016 has proven to be the most divisive event of the last few years. The winners are less than gracious in the victory. They prefer to rub salt into wounds and to get even with those who did not support their candidate. The losers are set on discovering something that will overturn the elections results. Even though their candidate won the popular vote, our country determines winners based on the electoral college. So, these disgruntled individuals must hold their noses and accept the outcome of our election process.

We have plenty of challenges ahead. Unless a person is living in a fantasy world, he realizes that campaign promises are rarely kept. Folks, no wall is going to be built; illegal immigrants are not going to be rounded up and shipped south of the border. Old jobs are not coming back; they either don’t exist, no longer pay enough for a good living, or won’t be around as soon as technology replaces workers. Our duty is to make this country a place of opportunity for all folks. That starts with making sure each person is educated in some area or trained in some skill that meets the world’s needs. We must learn to get along with folks of all races. Bigotry and racism will destroy us long before an outside enemy will.

A new year is here. Isn’t it time to put away old grudges? Shouldn’t we offer an olive branch to those with whom we have differences? Don’t we want a country that allows free speech in the media while demanding that it be objective? Can’t we take care of our affairs and still be the leader that the rest of the world looks to for guidance? These are the things that I hope 2017 will restart. God knows we need it.