Between the Lines: Our 2017 Wish List

Our annual December Halos and Horns issue of the paper, which sums up staffers’ thoughts on who in the Valley (and the world) has been naughty and nice for the past year, only allows us to look backward. But with a new year rolled out before us, Advocate writers decided to look ahead at what we’re hoping for in 2017. Call it our New Years resolutions list — only this one goes beyond the kitchen and gym.


▩ We’re wishing that run-of-the-mill partisan politics would step aside and allow a sensible infrastructure program to address job creation and our need to improve the nation’s highways, bridges, investment in energy, and expansion of commuter and public transportation.

▩ On a different note: what’s with return shipping fees? If you’ve already paid shipping on something you bought online, you shouldn’t have to pay to return it. Someone fix this, please.

▩ Having bought six more months to create a cannabis control commission, we’re hoping that Massachusetts buckles down and creates the infrastructure to allow for the legal sale of marijuana by July 1, 2018 — fulfilling the wish of voters and ending heinous criminal penalties for marijuana crimes. Efficient progress on this would enable cities and towns, at their own option, to regulate where and how marijuana sales will operate, and to capture the additional tax they are entitled to collect at a time when Massachusetts cities and towns are in rough financial shape.

▩ Can gas stations please install some gloves at each pump for the winter, so that dummies like us who forgot to bring gloves don’t have frozen hands after 60 seconds standing outside in a turnpike blizzard?

▩ Our Hilltown correspondent suggests: you should be able to buy game meat without having to shoot it yourself. Sure, venison can be farmed, but you can’t just go out and buy it. Seems like a lost opportunity.

▩ Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis has a reputation as a fierce warrior, but also a thoughtful scholar of military history and a compassionate steward of those who serve under his command. As Secretary of Defense, we’re hoping that he’ll bring some much needed wisdom — and temperance — to a clueless and potentially reckless Trump administration.

▩ News media, and everyone else: Please stop attaching “-gate” to every major and minor scandal we report on and gossip about. Nixon got caught trying to cover-up an illegal break-in, lied about it, admitted it, quit being president, waved, and flew away. Fashion faux pas and Hollywood relationship woes are not comparable crises.

▩ Health insurance is now so complicated that we have to call the health insurance company to make sure every single little thing is covered. If America is a leader in the world, its citizens should never have to call and ask: which emergency room do I need to I go to? And good luck getting through — we’ve been calling for four days now, and we keep being told that “it’s a high-volume time.” Expect more of that kind of talk from your insurance hotlines as Congress acts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and give the market more power. Companies will reassert their profit motive, leaving millions of Americans struggling on hold. We really, really want to wish that away. Any big fix for this is several presidential campaigns down the road. In the meantime, Massachusetts: please show leadership on this by making sure that people don’t fall through the cracks.

▩ Everyone: keep your dicks in for Harambe. Let the ape rest in peace.

▩ Mark Zuckerberg: please hire some tech-savvy journalists at Facebook, and put into place a more trustworthy system for disseminating the news. We know you think of your Face-baby as a technology company, not a news media outlet — but it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. [UPDATE: Looks like we might get our wish]

▩ Obama: please step fully into your role as a rallying force to help guide Democrats back into the hearts of the majority of Americans whose interests they represent.

▩ That’ll take a while… In the meantime, we’re trying to wish Hillary out of the woods and back into her pantsuit. Maybe the Clintons should relocate from Chappaqua to Stockbridge, and she — or he! — should challenge Baker for governor. Why not?

▩ Also, we wish to never see Donald Trump and Kanye West in the same photograph again. The next few years are already dragging — let’s not make time stand still completely.

Agree, disagree? Let us know on Facebook or at

Hunter Styles

Author: Hunter Styles

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