At first glance, it would be really easy to say that 2017 sucked huge ass.
True, my understanding of the modern, civilized world, and of all I hold sacred and indelible, have been genuinely rocked. Open hate, including the bizarre rise of street-Nazis, the revelation that there is a den of sexual predators both in public office and the entertainment industry, the blind greed of an emboldened pack of so-called representatives dismantling every American policy that helps people— these are a few pieces of low-hanging fruit on the “2017-is-the-year-from-hell” tree.
But some good things have happened, too.
The underpinnings of progress this year have come from a groundswell of both high-profile and everyday people saying “I don’t effing think so.” These dystopian-tinted times, though dark in many ways, have really brought out a spirit of rebellion against tyranny in thinking, caring people. 2017 has been a year of extremely well-attended civil rights marches, voter registration, and new levels of civic engagement. Many are getting politically active who have never been so before, voting numbers are up among minorities, and in some very real cases, these galvanized voters have made a huge impact and shifted outcomes dramatically.
Victims of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault are stepping out of the shadows. #MeToo and #IBelieveWomen are part of a new culture of validation for victims of sexual abuse in Hollywood and beyond. Lifting a veil of silence is not easy or pleasant for anyone, but there has been a great deal of public support for people to talk about what they have been through and hopefully this will shine light into previously dark corners for the next generations of women.
Presidents Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama joined together in incredible hurricane relief efforts, setting aside politics to put people first in a way that made my heart sing. The One America Appeal and concert raised over $31M for hurricane relief. Now that’s presidential.
Speaking of presidential, the most popular tweet of all time is this message of tolerance and hope by Barack Obama from August 2017:
Also in 2017, Australians chose marriage equality. Citizens of my new home Down Under said that they wanted all people to have the ability to marry, regardless of the gender of their beloved. And the government responded by making it law.
Populations of river dolphins in Pakistan and tigers in Bhutan are increasing thanks to conservation efforts by organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund.
We got a new Star Wars movie. It stars women and POC, and it resonates with humanity and feeling. And honestly, every year that has Star Wars in it has a reason for living, in my opinion.
So don’t give up, world! Despite all the toxicity out there in social media– the horrid entitlement, racism, xenophobia, and sexism that appears to be embedded in certain backwards minds– it’s 2017, Doctor Who is a woman, and it’s brilliant.