Well, 2017 was quite a ride, wasn't it? Record wildfires in the West; a Trumpster fire in the Oval Office; massive dissonance and attacks on the truth nearly everywhere; and, despite the collapse of Islamic State, continued war in Syria helping propel a global migration crisis — 65.6 million displaced people — on a scale that surpasses even that of World War II. Enormous political and cultural divisions continued to roil the United States, Congress rolled over on the president's Cabinet appointees and the gutting of essential institutions continued. It should go without saying that, for the most part, our 2016 wishes went unfulfilled.
But hey, the Dodgers came this close to winning the World Series, so we've got that going for us.
Hope springs eternal, as Alexander Pope wrote nearly 300 years ago. So, with optimism propelling us through the sea of cynicism, here's is The Times' annual list of wishes, in no particular order. Remember, these are wishes, not predictions.
We wish for:
— a greater effort to keep politics out of the investigations into Trump, the Russians, the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey and whether the president's actions since the election have constituted an attempt to obstruct justice.
— a continued focus on men's bad behavior toward women — from banal chauvinism to sexual assault. We're hoping for not just a momentary ripple of revelations, but an actual correction in the imbalance of power and respect between the genders.
— a retreat of alt-rightism and white nationalism (good-bye, Stephen K. Bannon; so long, Breitbart).
— an end to the devastating war in Syria and a ratcheting back of tensions between the Sunni and Shiite regimes across the Middle East.
— a stop to the brutal persecution of Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar government and a recognition of their right to live in peace.
— a path to peace for unsettled regions of Africa — from Libya to the Central African Republic to Somalia — and a way home for those displaced by conflict.
— the discontinuance of Trump's Twitter account and cable TV feed. Surely someone in the White House can figure out how to do that.
— a reversal on Brexit. The people of Britain should come to their collective senses and find a way out of this mess.
— a negotiated solution to demands for Catalan independence.
— less whataboutism. Americans should think twice before responding to fair criticism of their movement or party or favorite politician with, "Yeah, but what about ...?"
— a national conversation about the need to retire the phrase "national conversation."
— an important Supreme Court decision decided not only unanimously but without any concurring opinions. Come on, justices, you can do it.
— an end to the rash of new (and often unconstitutional) proposals in statehouses across the country that would erode a woman's constitutional right to abortion.
— a more enlightened, pragmatic approach to marijuana, which is currently classified as just as dangerous as heroin — even though it is now legal in some form in more than 40 states. Congress has made it too difficult to conduct necessary research into marijuana's effects on users, challenging states' abilities to craft rational regulations.
— a lot more housing in Southern California for the working poor and for middle-class families who need stable, affordable places to live.
— rejection of the Republicans' cynical, self-serving ballot initiative to repeal the state Legislature's 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike, which was passed to pay for road repairs and other critical transportation infrastructure.
— continued focus on the city of Los Angeles by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who should not let his presidential ambitions get in the way of his day job. L.A. still faces a budget deficit, a housing shortage, a homeless crisis and many other challenges that demand his full attention.
— a reduction in partisanship posing as news, and increased resources for clear-eyed and independent journalism.
— Democrats to heal the progressive-moderate schism that is threatening their chances to win seats in Congress in November. And while they're at it, to stop with the rear-view mirror stuff about the 2016 presidential primaries.
— Republicans to realize that Trump is not one of their own and that he does not have the nation's best interests at heart. And that he is not the straight-talking middle-class champion he pretended to be.
— a free and open internet without interference by broadband providers, and better solutions by Facebook and other social media giants to the flood of fake news and propaganda across their platforms.
— an end to Washington gamesmanship over the federal debt ceiling and government funding.
— Republicans to join Democrats in trying to make health insurance more accessible and affordable, rather than pursuing their endless attack on Obamacare.
— more Angelenos to take mass transit.
— direct, productive talks between the United States and North Korea.
— a recognition by Americans that protecting the environment and combating climate change will take more than slapping a bumper sticker on the SUV.
— California to keep the single-use plastic-bag momentum going — and to ban polystyrene take-out containers.
— another rain-filled California winter (despite the dry start) to stave off a return to drought conditions. (While we're at it, we also wish for no major earthquakes or additional mega-wildfires.)