To call 2017 a disaster year is both accurate and an understatement. Starting in January, with the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump upsetting old-school conservatives and liberals, and then ending with the burning down of Ventura County, this year was like a never-ending tour through the multiple levels of hell, literally ending with fire. Celebrity heroes were found out to be harassers, perverts and rapists. The GOP backed an accused pedophile in Alabama’s Judge Roy Moore. The DNC forced its own harasser out. North Korea’s Kim Jung Un threatened the world with nuclear warheads. Hell, even the latest Star Wars film ignited a war on social media, maintaining a divided country. As silly as it sounds, even the things meant to bring us together kept us apart. As 2017 wraps up, may we rise from the ashes as 2018 begins.
America is a resilient country. I’ve written about that concept multiple times, but now, more than ever, do I pray we become what we once were. In an ever-changing culture where religion is down and “progressive” liberalism is up, where technology grows and living single is the new normal, America feels ready to burst at the seams. So much is changing, so fast, that it feels as though we can’t keep up. Every month was a new tragedy to battle outside of our own regular day-to-day existence. Here’s a sad breakdown:
January brought us marches and protests.
February ushered in a real North Korean threat.
In March the United Nations warned that about 20 million people were risking death by starvation.
April saw the attacks on Syria.
Cyber attacks and terrorist bombings in England highlighted May.
Trump pulled us out of the Paris Climate Agreement in June.
The international world fought North Korea while Iraq’s civil war ended in July.
August brought destruction through hurricanes.
Earthquakes, more hurricanes and even more threats from North Korea filled September.
October was the month of the Las Vegas shooter, and then there was the start of the Hollywood sexual harassment cases and the #MeToo movement.
Earthquakes filled November.
And the month of December saw Russia banned from the Olympics, Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital in Israel, and the burning of our county.
Let’s not forget that health care, tax cuts, highly contested elections and fallen senators also filled out newspapers.
I do not write the last batch of information to depress us. In fact, I write this article to inspire us. In a world that looked unable to recover, here we are, doing our best to move forward. Because that is what we do best. Americans fight. When writer Sinclair Lewis said, “Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country,” he was pointing to our American exceptionalism. Americans are not “better” than any other nation, but others look at us as the model for when things are bad, we will find a way to triumph, to turn our losses into wins.
Today looks bleak as we enter 2018 with too many unknowns to know. Yet that is when we have prospered most greatly. The Civil War brought freedom and the Second Industrial Revolution. The Great Depression birthed what would be one of America’s greatest growth periods in the 1950s. And after Richard Nixon’s and Jimmy Carter’s disastrous presidencies (in different ways), President Ronald Reagan ushered in growth and patriotism as no other.
So while many of us are not excited about a Trump presidency, let us not forget that no one man can destroy our country; and while we rebuild our burnt-down county, let us remember that through change we grow; and while it is painful, from pain can come positives. And while we are saddened that our heroes, be they Bill O’Reilly, Louis C.K. or Dustin Hoffman, took advantage of their power, this only means that women will be heard now and positive changes are coming across all types of industries.
So if you’re still really upset about The Last Jedi … well, 2018 has a Han Solo movie for you. Until then, here’s to a fresh start and a new year. We’ve been through enough. We deserve it.