A New Year, a new decade: What will 2020 bring?

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 1/1/20

Hello 2020! The New Year has come upon us whether we are ready for it or not. It’s been looming out there for some time with way too much focus and debate on the Presidential election. These are …

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A New Year, a new decade: What will 2020 bring?

Posted

Hello 2020! The New Year has come upon us whether we are ready for it or not. It’s been looming out there for some time with way too much focus and debate on the Presidential election.

These are troubling times for us both as a nation and internationally speaking. May the recent celebration of the Advent season with hope, peace, joy and love prevail in this new year starting another decade. We need to be hopeful as there are many “dark clouds” swirling around us.

Will the international scene change for the better?

Will we realize a less chaotic and less uncertain international scene? Can we achieve a more robust trade agreement with China which is fair to both sides and drop the tariffs? How about our country’s relationship with both the EU and NATO in the start of this decade? We need to strengthen both economically as well as militarily. Hopefully, the replacement agreement for NAFTA with Mexico and Canada will prove to be a fair deal to all.

Let’s not forget North Korea. Kim Jong-un remains a loose rocket. Hopefully, his volatilaty and ego will not lead to something serious in the 2020’s like nuclear missiles headed our way.

The national political picture

I have to admit that I am not looking past the next ten-plus months until the Presidential election is behind us.

With such a divided country over the impeachment of President Trump and his candidacy for re-election, I am afraid the schism will only grow wider and the rhetoric will get uglier. I wish that I could say with conviction that cooler heads will prevail, but we know better.

It comes down to standing by our beliefs and convictions while resisting all of the noise. I just wish the Democrats had a strong middle of the road candidate. Perhaps Michael Bloomberg is the dark horse candidate.

With what we experienced with the 2016 election, there is that gnawing feeling that Russia or other foreign powers will influence the 2020 election? Also, let’s not forget the key U.S. Senate race we have here in Colorado. Will former Governor Hickenlooper have the best chance of bumping off incumbent Cory Gardner who has cozied up to President Trump too often compared to what Colorado voters expect?

Will climate warming be treated as a real issue?

As we enter a new decade in this young millennium, will the global issue of climate warming be taken seriously? Clearly, the national leadership of our country thinks it’s a spoof.

We cannot afford to ignore or gamble the future of our planet. Too many signs are present which tell us we must change our ways and protect our planet. The people of the United States need to step back up and be global leaders on reducing our carbon footprint as a nation, a state, a city and as individuals. Coal is not our friend in this fight. And let’s be more careful when evaluating fracking opportunities. It’s not only the impact from air pollutants and noise on human beings; it is taking our precious water resources to some degree as well. Plus, let’s realize that the Denver metro area is failing to meet federal air quality standards.

Reducing homelessness collaboratively

What can be done collectively to at least reduce homelessness in our city, our county, our state, our country and the world? While economists, business executives and the President tout our national economic strength as a country with record-breaking low unemployment and new stock market highs, we see more homeless people on the street corners, under the bridges, along the creeks and at the local library. It simply is not a county government problem any longer. While some leaders boast of building more attainable housing, there are other options as well which need increased attention, funding and action.

Hope for medical advancements

There is bound to be new revelations in private sector enhancements to existing technology. New breakthroughs by academic and private sector research in the medical field will hopefully conquer certain current diseases. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find a cure for cancer? May the companies which create the healing solutions be fair in their pricing to those who need these new medicines or surgical procedures. Will we see lower pharmaceutical prices with new policy direction in purchasing medicines from Canada in the near future? Let’s hope so.

Will the “glue” found in retail stores remain?

Turning to the topic of retail stores which have been the backbone of our local communities in the past, will they survive in the 2020’s? Local brick and mortar stores have been the glue to downtown in smaller communities while they have drawn the shoppers to the trendy malls.

With the fast acceleration of shopping on line, will we continue to see the decline of such chains as JC Penney, Macy’s and hundreds of others? At least now, state and local governments are in position to garner sales tax revenues from on-line purchases.

Will city leaders think outside the box on housing?

Turning to local communities’ development picture, when will mayors, city councils, city managers and planning directors decide to change the focus from more and more apartment complexes — which demand outrageous rents — to the missing middle in more modest homes that people can afford to own.

If the current trend for more apartments continues, our city leaders will have produced a generation of apartment dwellers with many of them never to afford owning their own home. Is the “American dream” of home ownership dead? It doesn’t have to be if planners and elected city councils would think outside the box.

How do you see the year 2020 and beyond?

So, in conclusion, what do you think the New Year and the new decade will bring? Will the glass be “half full or half empty?” Give it some serious thought as we live in serious times.

Also, I want to acknowledge that not all the key issues are mentioned here. Maybe there will be more to address later — like public education, transportation needs, health insurance, decline in our religious institutions, etc. etc.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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