It's been a busy year.
We've had more than a few things to discuss around the dinner table. The Scott Walker recall election. The presidential election. The fiscal cliff. And now the Newtown tragedy.
We all took sides on each issue. He cut union powers too deeply, or he's solving the state's budget crisis. He deserves another term, or he blew his chance. The rich are taxed too heavily, or they should pay more. More guns offer better protection, or fewer weapons make us safer.
Aren't you a little tired of arguing?
As we celebrate the new year, now is the time to end it, at least for a little while.
Whether you're gathering with family members, are lounging around in your pajamas or are headed to a movie with friends, take a few hours to just enjoy the New Year's holiday for what it is: A peaceful time to step away from our day-to-day realities.
Let's reflect on what we have. We live in the most prosperous time in history, and our basic needs are covered. We have the capacity to be joyful, if we choose to be.
Let's be thankful for the things other countries experience but we don't: War. Restricted access to clean water. Widespread disease. Crippling poverty.
Those problems put our political disagreements, at least, into perspective.
It's important for us to have national discussions on the topics of the day. Debates and civil discourse are part of what makes this a great nation.
For a short time today, though, give the bickering a rest and look at the big picture. You'll be glad you did.
Happy New Year.
Time for fiscal cliff deal was yesterday
We're in the mood for some good news, and we're holding out hope that Congress and President Barack Obama will deliver.
Our national leaders have only a few days left to produce an agreement that prevents our country from plunging over the so-called fiscal cliff. That means leaders in the House and Senate have the perfect opportunity to start the country off on the right foot in 2013.
We're trying to stay positive about the whole mess, even though House Speaker John Boehner, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have disappointed us time and time again by not resolving our country's debt crisis.
They've let this languish far too long, but a deadline can be a major motivator. They must find a way to prevent the huge spending cuts and tax hikes that will happen automatically if they don't act.
The deadline is self-imposed, after all, which makes it even more ridiculous if our economy goes into a tailspin after Jan. 1 because of their inaction.
So we're trying not to worry about what appears to us to be a lack of urgency. All we can do is remind them how important it is to get the job done.
Only 50 percent of Americans are at least somewhat optimistic a deal will be announced, according to a Gallup poll. That's down from 59 percent on Dec. 9.
Nonetheless, we're among the believers. We have to be - it's too depressing to think about what it means for our future if our political parties can't find common ground on an issue so important.
Even though they have a history of proving otherwise, our leaders must show right now how deeply they care about taxpayers and our economy.
- Appleton Post-Crescent