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Season of hope

POSTED December 7, 2010 9:56 p.m.

No matter how commercial the Christmas season gets, there is one pure thing the holidays always bring — hope.

You can almost feel the hope in the air come December. Despite hardships one may be facing, it is difficult not to smile at the sight of children looking at Christmas lights. Seeing people revel in the joy of the season brings hope for the future.

This hope also translates to our elected officials. No matter whom you voted for in the November election, by December most voters are overcome by a feeling that anything is possible and California will soon be on the right track.

Politicians take advantage of this seasonal jolliness by putting out statements filled with idealistic proposals and confident statements of their ability to make a difference in an otherwise broken system. There are 28 rookies in our Legislature, and very few passed up the chance to fill us with hope.

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) took the oath of office on Monday and got right to work by introducing legislation to reform the budget process. She released a statement about this legislation which included a bright outlook for the future.

“Just as I did on the Modesto City Council, I will work to solve problems and reach consensus on the major challenges facing our state,” Olsen said.  “Working together, we can create more private-sector jobs, preserve local control, and help government make sense again.”

While he still has a little over three weeks until being sworn into office, Governor-elect Jerry Brown also has an optimistic viewpoint.

"I'm hopeful the leaders in California will approach the budget with a real sense of discipline and fairness. People are friendly and chatty today, but there's no telling what that means, what it portends," Brown told The Associated Press on Monday.

These hopeful statements of creating jobs and changing the way California runs are great. I’m all for it. But I have to wonder if the tone of Olsen and Brown’s statements will be the same in January, or February, or in June with the budget deadline breathing down their necks.

Just like a child on Dec. 26 after all the presents have been opened and stockings emptied, many politicians— and citizens — will soon awake from their rose-tinted view of the state of affairs and wonder why reality did not meet their expectations.

When the hard work of governing becomes all too real, will our newly elected officials still have the same hope? I hope so, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, I plan on sipping eggnog, singing a few carols and clinging tightly to my dose of December hope.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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