Buckle up, brace yourself, and lower your expectations. The new year is almost here and I know I'm not alone when I say - I'm uneasy about 2024.

I don't want this to be another depressing dissertation about the future of America because believe it or not, the economy has actually improved, inflation seems to be under control, and when it comes to one's finances, most people in the country are optimistic. However, when it comes to the state of the nation and the world, in general, I don't think you can avoid being even a little worried.

Let's just look at what we have to look forward to in 2024.

• Republicans have launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden
• Former President Trump is facing multiple legal cases
• People believe Trump is responsible for the January 6th insurrection
• Other people believe January 6th is basically made-up by the Democrats
• The Southern border seems completely out of control
• Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the two Presidential candidates
• Yet another debate over funding the federal government will likely come next year
• People have lost faith in the establishment, expert opinions, our legal system, law enforcement, and government
• Some feel, if their candidate loses in 2024, the election will have been rigged
• Americans have not been so politically and socially divided since the Civil War
• We're funding a major war in Ukraine
• We're funding another war between Israel and Hamas
• Those who support Hamas and oppose Israel are threatening an attack on America
• As a society, we're divided on transgender issues, Israel, support for Ukraine, contraception, abortion, the southern border, Trump, books in schools, education in general, which political party is destroying America, etc. etc. etc.

This bullet point list is pretty daunting. I consider myself an optimist, and even I'm feeling uneasy about everything we're facing right now.

Sadly, many of our political representatives and leaders seem to have forgotten that negotiation means both sides have to give up a little. Even scarier, others have forgotten the responsibility of putting "country first" in their decisions and their political speech. Finally, Artificial Intelligence and Deep Fake memes, pictures and videos on social media are getting more and more dangerous, as well as more difficult to detect.

In a recent Pew Research poll, only 16-percent of Americans are optimistic about the moral and ethical standards in the nation. Making matters worse, this is a poll that was conducted in September, before the attack by Hamas and the Israeli response in Gaza.

This week, I asked Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Fulbright Scholar Dr. Luke Perry of Utica University - "Do you enter the new year with optimism?" I've interviewed him often and I wasn't surprised by his response.

He started with laughter, and simply said "No, I don't." He explained that it's important to always look at the process with skepticism, and at this time with such divisions in the country, he anticipates another difficult year.

"As someone who follows electoral politics very closely. It’s gonna be another slugfest of a presidential campaign and just on a personal level, I think government is about solving problems, trying to make people lives better, and I wish there was greater focus on ethics and integrity and respectful disagreement with people just working together more, to try to make everything just a little bit better as we move along here," Perry said. "It’s just a hyper- partisanship, with personal attacks. Even someone who loves American government and what I do, it’s hard for me so...I look forward to hopefully turning the page in another chapter. I don’t think it’s gonna happen this year. I don’t know when it will, but hopefully sooner than later."

Check out the entire interview with Perry below on our YouTube live stream.

Read Dr. Luke Perry's latest book, The 2020 Democratic Primary; Key Developments, Dynamics and Lessons for 2024 (Palgrave, 2021), and sixth book The 2020 Presidential Election; Key Issues and Regional Dynamics (Palgrave, 2022), were edited volumes that examined the dynamics of the 2020 presidential election. 

Opinion, Mon. Dec. 18, 2023. Bill Keeler is the morning host on WIBX 950.

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