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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

My six wishes for 2016

Strolling on the beach at Coney Island recently, I stumbled over a glowing lamp, and guess who appeared? Yep, a Brooklyn genie.

“Yo, watch where you’re walking, pal!” the genie grumbled. “What are you doing on the beach anyway? It’s winter!”

“But it’s 60 degrees!” I replied.

“Good point,” said the genie. “For freeing me from that lamp, I grant you three wishes for 2016.”

“Just three — are you kidding?” I replied. “How about six?”

“Hey, don’t get greedy. OK, six. But one more word, and you get zilch.”

So I gave him my wishes:

1. That education will rule the day

In the world, our politics and in ourselves.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

In the world, our politics and in ourselves. We need freedom to educate all children -- boys and girls -- in every nation. We need fewer "low-information voters" in the United States -- and fewer low-information politicians. In the last GOP debate, Gov. Chris Christie said, "When I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan, I will say to him, 'You have a friend, sir, who will stand by you.' " But King Hussein won't answer. He's been dead for 16 years. No other candidate and no CNN moderator corrected him. Ignorance is not bliss.

2. That there will be no more fearmongering.

Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bryan Thomas

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" is President Franklin D. Roosevelt's most enduring quote. But today's politicians have replaced FDR's reassurance with, "Be afraid -- be very afraid." When a creep sent a threatening email to Los Angeles schools, that city panicked and shut every one. Meanwhile, New York City quickly determined an identical threat was a hoax and kept schools open. Yes, there is real danger we must address forcefully, but if we quake, hide and don't live our lives, the terrorists win. This band of fanatics can't defeat us. Only fear can.

3. That the Summer Olympics will be safe.

This August in Rio de Janeiro, the Olympics
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Sean Gallup

This August in Rio de Janeiro, the Olympics will welcome more than 10,000 athletes from more than 200 nations. Besides the obvious security concerns, Rio has a serious problem with its water venues. Waters that the athletes will compete in contain extremely high levels of bacteria, viruses and sewage that pose a health hazard. A spokesman for the Rio 2016 games said the city would like to clean up this mess before the Olympics begin. You think?

4. That our politicians adopt higher standards.

Let's set the same standard in politics as
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mark Wallheiser

Let's set the same standard in politics as we do in our personal lives. That means no loudmouths, bigots or connivers in either party who think rules, facts, compromise and civility are for suckers. No one you wouldn't want in your own home, let alone the White House. Let's make it happen -- at the voting booth.

5. That the New York Mets come out on top.

I want the Mets to complete the journey
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Elsa

I want the Mets to complete the journey they began this year and win the 2016 World Series -- and for Sandy Alderson, the general manager who built this team, to beat cancer and share in the celebration. Ya gotta believe!

6. That my dreams come true

More empathy, less anger, more tolerance, less hate,
Photo Credit: Getty Images

More empathy, less anger, more tolerance, less hate, more love and forgiveness -- in the world, the nation and in of all of our hearts.

Happy New Year, and keep the faith!

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.

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