The holidays are over — now it’s back to reality

The holiday season may have provided the usual respite for all of us from the strife and turbulence that has been assaulting us daily for the better part of the past decade, but despite the arrival of the New Year, we still have to face our same old problems.

The war in Ukraine continues to grind on, with Vladiimir Putin targeting primarily civilians in cities far from the battlefront. The Israel-Hamas war likewise has no apparent end in sight, with civilians on both sides suffering greatly. In addition, with other Iranian-backed terrorist organizations threatening to expand the war not only against Israel, but also against the United States and world-wide commercial shipping, the potential for a much-larger conflict increases with each passing minute.

China, the other member of the Axis of Evil, continues to encroach its military bases and fleet on the sovereignty of other nations and threatens to launch an invasion of Taiwan at any time.

Scientists have confirmed that 2023 was off-the-charts for being the warmest year in the history of mankind, with the trend looming for an even-hotter 2024, promising to bring more devastating storms and climate change-related catastrophes in the year ahead.

Despite the strong economy, homelessness in the United States grew by 12 percent in the past year, with no imminent solution at any level of government. The increase in homelessness is a direct result of the lack of housing that has accumulated over the past decade to the point where it is estimated that the country is five million units short of what is needed to keep up with our growing population.

The situation at the border with Mexico represents a complete failure on the part of Congress and the White House, with the result that the situation for migrants is dire and American cities are being overwhelmed. Even Democratic governors and mayors are feeling besieged by the influx of immigrants for which our local and state governments are ill-equipped to handle.

The lack of meaningful gun legislation to stop the proliferation of deadly military-grade weapons all but assures that 2024 will see more mass shootings throughout the country.

Drug and alcohol abuse also shows no signs of abating and will continue to claim the lives of tens of thousands of Americans in the year ahead. American life expectancy continues to trail the rest of the industrialized world.

And last but not least, the political turmoil in the coming presidential year promises to be the most turbulent not only in our recent history, but since 1861 — the start of the Civil War.

The prospects are overwhelming for a grim 2024. About all we can say is that we are living in an era that brings to mind the title from the Kevin Costner movie from the late 1980s — No Way Out.

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