*There are a number of important issues that could and should be resolved in the next year. The direction the country goes on these issues will determine the path we take as a whole and ultimately if the country will continue its progress.
The first and most overarching issue is the upcoming presidential election. Although the president does not have the ability to simply decide what the country will do, the president does encourage those policies he or she favors and makes those policies more possible by the weight of their endorsement. Similarly private companies and industries are also affected by the occupant of the White House. There is a reason that there was an abundance of abstinence-only programs during George W. Bush’s tenure in office.
A number of issues are related to the presidential election. First among them is the question of ISIS and how the country will react to this group. The main variable is how antagonistic we will be toward them. This seems to be directly related to our national interests so it is something that the next president will need to address.
Another issue tied to the presidential election that is undoubtedly related to our national security as well as our economic prosperity is immigration. Having too porous a border undoubtedly threatens the safety of those already in the country. In addition the laws of supply and demand dictate that too many people in the country drive down the wages of everyone. The next president will be tasked with reevaluating and redefining our immigration policy.
The perfect blend of the previous two issues is the refugee crisis that is affecting Eastern Europe as people ignore immigration policies to flee ISIS. The United States does not have the best track record in opening its arms to non-White Anglo Saxon Protestants unless the person entering the country has a valuable skill or piece of information. The reason this will need to be addressed in 2016 is because we are being called on this inhospitableness in ways we weren’t in the past.
Not necessarily something that the president needs to get involved in is the increased focus on police brutality. Even without the pressure of national politicians getting involved, local municipalities need to (and should be able to) revise their policing tactics and documentation of officers. In one sense police brutality is a local issue because it is about individual law enforcement departments but when departments from multiple areas of the country are being cited for brutality it becomes a national story. For that reason it is a big issue that should be resolved in 2016.
If you’re a regular reader of my column you can probably guess which way I come down on most of these questions. My point here isn’t that these issues should be decided in a certain way, but to say that they need to be decided. Letting them linger will hurt the country too much.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.