Our Opinion: Dawn of 2020

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It's 2020, a year that has a nice science fiction ring to it. In fact, if science fiction movies like 1982's "Blade Runner," which was set in November of 2019, were accurate forecasts of the future, we'd be a couple of months into a world in which human-like replicants walked the Earth, people flew around in Jetsons-style spaceships, and the climate was a dank and disastrous mess. Well the third might happen, unless Generation Z forestalls it.

In reality, 2020 will look a lot like 2019, and just like 2019 discussion will be dominated by the 2020 elections. The presidential election between Donald Trump and whichever Democrat emerges from the throng will be one of the most important elections of anyone in America's lifetime for all of the reasons that dominate the news pages and broadcasts every day. As an appetizer, Massachusetts voters will have a Democratic Senate primary matching incumbent Edward Markey against challenger Joseph Kennedy, with the winner perhaps facing a Republican in the general election.

But while the election campaigns hum away in the background, there are lives to be lived in Berkshire County and much to be accomplished. With so many states defying President Trump's ban on refugees is it possible that the plan to bring Middle Eastern refugees to Berkshire County that was abandoned three years ago could be revived? Berkshire County needs more people and it needs greater diversity. Efforts to link Pittsfield and the Berkshires through better passenger rail service will continue in 2020 and we hope show progress. Crime and the opioid epidemic will be fought. Is it possible that a plan to address PCBs in the Housatonic River south of Pittsfield will emerge? Will angry extraterrestrials locate the 5,000-pound UFO monument hauled away by Sheffield town officials and tractor-beam it back into place some dark and foggy night?

While Berkshire residents weigh these and other issues we urge them to take an occasional moment to appreciate where they live. The air is clear, the traffic is light, the mountains are beautiful, the cultural scene is rich, the recreational opportunities many. And as the new year dawns, there are good opportunities for employment throughout the economic spectrum.

Happy New Year in 2020!

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