Today is New Year’s Eve. At midnight we say goodbye to 2017 and welcome in 2018. I’m happy about the former and apprehensive about the latter. Today I want to briefly review what I thought were the top five political stories of 2017. Interestingly the first four link back to the last. In reverse order here they are.
Number 5 is terrorism. Terrorism (both domestic and the often discounted domestic version) is here to stay for the foreseeable future. My biggest fear is that we are becoming so complacent that a terrorist incident is finding it increasingly difficult to sustain itself as the lead news story.
If we allow terrorism to be in our every thought and action the terrorists have won. That being said we cannot become numb to it.
I will use the broad brush of civil unrest to describe the number four story. It took various forms, some of which closely resembled the fifth story. Neo-Nazi and Confederate defending actions took place across the country including one that included a murder in Charlottesville, Virginia. We also saw the increasing and complicated impact of the Black Lives Matter movement. The 2017 version started with the worldwide women’s marches against Trump on January 21st. The most impactful were the incidents of social activism that largely contributed to stopping the repeal of Obamacare. Left and right, people were not happy and they let their feelings be known.
In third place were several mass shootings. Even more so than in the case of terrorism (and I find it difficult to distinguish between the two) I fear we are becoming desensitized. Until we acknowledge our gun problem mass shootings will continue in America.
The only reason Russiagate is in second place is because of what is in the number one slot. I often stay up watching news on television later than I planned because I feel like I’m living my life over again by re-experiencing a Watergate like meltdown of a presidency in some sort of perverse Groundhog Day sequel. There is already enough publically available information to conclude that Russia interfered in our 2016 election. This is huge! It is a direct attack on our democracy. The scary part is that we only know a portion of the complete truth.
Without a doubt the biggest story of 2017 is Donald Trump. He loves publicity and always wants to be the lead story. He is totally unpredictable and appears willing to do anything to attract attention all the time with total disregard for the truth. It appears that his closest associates, campaign and transition team conspired with Russia.
Trump has a strange admiration for despots certainly including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russiagate is largely about him. Trump is a defender of guns to the point of all but ignoring mass shootings. In one instance he failed to “fill in the blanks” correctly on a condolence tweet. The civil unrest on the left is mostly a reaction to Trump and/or his policies. The extreme fringe of the right wing is emboldened with what they perceive as a friend in the White House.
Enjoy New Year’s Eve, especially the part about ringing pout the old. Tomorrow we’ll tackle what we think 2018 holds.
It has become my practice to take the end of the year off from writing. Therefore today’s article was written well before publishing.
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