I am a physician, entrepreneur and vegetable gardener. For each of those roles, one must be an optimist.

A physician should help patients and families see that there is hope even in very difficult situations. The entrepreneur must believe in each project, visualize its success, and deny the possibility of failure. A gardener is much the same. Audrey Hepburn once said, “To grow a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” So true.

So here we are at the beginning of 2019. What can the optimist believe for 2019?

I believe that Washington will recover from the current chaos. Either Mr. Trump will realize that the basic pillars of democracy matter or the Congress will show the backbone to remove him.

I believe Baltimore will make strides in the drug war. Three-hundred murders and too many overdose deaths are unacceptable. It was heartening to read recently that drug use is dropping among our teenagers. Much more needs to be done. Maybe the politicians will finally realize the make-believe drug war is a failure. We need to decriminalize, destroy the drug economy, reduce the need for incarceration, and treat the problem as a public health issue.

I believe our governor will continue to succeed. He deserved a second term and I have great confidence he will continue to focus on an agenda that doesn’t include the social agenda of the hateful right. Let’s hope that he and our mayor can work together to address social issues and inequalities in Baltimore and the entire state.

I believe that the Orioles will return to mediocrity. OK, I realize that this isn’t much and that even then I may be overreaching. So I may as well go full Kool-Aid and state that I believe Chris Davis will return to form, the team will re-sign Jonathan Schoop, and the new manager will inspire success. Oh, and let’s throw in a playoff run for the Ravens and another NCAA upset for the UMBC Retrievers.

I believe that if we push hard, immigrants, much like our parents and grandparents, will be given an easier path to legally enter the U.S. They just want safety for their children and the chance for economic success. Immigrants have always brought energy, a work ethic, and cultural diversity to our nation. We need to rise above partisan politics and simmering racism to make the asylum seekers and dreamers welcome among us. Jews should intrinsically understand this.

And most important, I believe in the power of love and family. Let’s hope for another year with my wonderful new grandson, kids, and parents. Four generations all together as the new year of hope dawns.

Best wishes,

Scott Rifkin, MD
Publisher