Happy new year!
Or will it be? Traditionally, the new year is a time to look forward with longing and a hope that the coming year will be better than the one just past, and while I don’t want to presume to know how everyone reading these words feels about the past year, I know I speak for a lot of folks in the MPC family when I say that it won’t be hard for 2018 to be a better year than 2017, at least when it comes to politics and public policy.
After all 2017, bore witness to the first year of the Trump Era, when the President of the United States worked actively to antagonize Muslims, demonize immigrants, and roll back societal gains enjoyed by women, LGBTQ folk and people of color. In the last year, politicians in Washington have been working overtime to dismantle things like affordable healthcare and science based climate policies. The President recently terminated the entire presidential advisory board for HIV/AIDS policy, and someone with a brain for numbers and a nose for deceit counted nearly 2,000 lies and untruths uttered by the president during the first eleven months of his presidency.
Plus, large swaths of California burned, and much of Puerto Rico is still without power, months after it was hit with a hurricane. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Kim Jung Un are comparing the size of their nuclear buttons. I could go on, but you get the picture.
So, will 2018 be any better. I hope so, and so, I’m sure, do you. There is, of course, no guarantee. Trump or Kim could yet push his button. Powerful men in Washington could plum the depths of yet-unknown depravity. Or not. Even 2017 had its moments of grace: a trans woman was elected to Virginia’s state assembly, after all, and outside of politics life went on. We loved, we laughed, we read good books, and we danced.
It turns out joy abides among us even when our nation’s leaders are awful. Our friendships endure. Our voices still recite poetry, our fingers still make art, and our arms still embrace.
Let us remember this, should 2018 outdo 2017 in awfulness, and if 2018 is a wonderful year, may our friendships, our voices, our strength and our love bring us yet more joy.