There is a special something in the air this time of year, though perhaps there is something more than the smell of pine tree candles and sugar cookies that lingers in 2017. This year, the year 2017, has been particularly and unfortunately eventful. Tensions in our country rise and rise, and people become worse and worse, and I am left feeling eager, even anxious, for the end of this year. Perhaps I am excited for what good things have the potential to arise, though it is more likely that I am excited about the symbolic turning-of-the-page, for the starting fresh that comes from ringing in the New Year.
There’s been an accumulation of horrors that I think have marked the end of this year: the allegations against nearly every man in Hollywood; the president continuing to be the president (though, with considerably greater consequences I think than before); and a series of attacks taken on men, women, and children, both overseas and domestically. 2017 has taken rights away and given them back, has taken opportunities away and not given them back, and has sold off a lot of taking aways as “giving backs” (that’s a euphemism; I’m talking about the tax bill). A year loaded with fake news and all-too-real news, 2017 has marked, in my opinion, some of the first real consequences of the tech boom and information age that we’ve seen since the internet was born. Suddenly we’re all interconnected, and we’re all sharing and participating in the culmination of political and gendered warfare- and it’s terrifying.
Yesterday, somewhat delayed in comparison to the rest of the world, I apparently saw the video of the young man whose mother videotaped him after he was picked up from school for bullying. That same day, I saw various celebrities reach out a helping hand to the young boy, just eleven, still in grade school, offering him a brighter outlook on life. Also that same day, I saw actual attacks taken on that boy for his mother’s political views, and for a series of fake allegations against the young boy, just eleven, for his own political views. Attacks taken by liberal individuals, preach love and peace, while also attacking a young man for his mother’s own political views.
Was this, is this, 2017? Is it a political dichotomy formed so deep and so developed that it culminates in a young, bullied child being attacked online for his mother’s political injustices? Or is it our president, claiming allegations of sexual assault against him were made by people he didn’t even know, despite having been pictured with these women? Is it political dichotomy and jingoism so obnoxious that it refuses human, individual rights? Is this 2017?
I am excited to see the end of 2017. I’m almost shocked I am going to live to see it. I am hoping that maybe things won’t be so bad, though they most certainly won’t. I am hoping that Donald Trump will stop being Donald Trump, though he most certainly won’t.
I do not understand how to incite change; how to instill empathy in a world that is slowly but surely losing it. I don’t know who to blame for that, be it social media that is slowly desensitizing us to tragedy or a dwindling education in liberal arts. I see my siblings, who are much younger than me and do not understand that the country, the world they are growing up in, is slowly but surely dividing into two halves, both full of hate and anger. I do not think they will understand why I hate politically charged enamel pins, which I personally think incite nothing but uneducated banter between someone who decided to buy a pin to tell the world they think their cause is important, and someone who decided to pick a fight with someone wearing an enamel pin.
I do not think they will understand how 2017 has hurt so many, and how much hate it has perpetuated in people like myself, who try to use that word sparingly, though appropriately. In some ways, I do not think I quite understand what happened in 2017, but I am sure glad it’s almost over.