An Open Letter to 2018: 2017 and the Year Ahead…
I just wanted to give you a heads up about how much responsibility you have this year. You see, 2017 was pretty rough for so many of us. We’re hopeful, though. Even better, 2017 saw us go from disbelief, to desperation, to anger, to determination. We’re ready for what lies ahead.
Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Yes, I mean the reality TV star who’s been sued an unprecedented 3,500 times (close your mouth), filed for bankruptcy 6 times, swindled workers and students out of their money, bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia, and refused to release his tax returns. Instead of working, he’s golfed himself silly and tweeted his way into sheer madness. Needless to say, with 45 at the helm, we’ve all been tossed and turned and nearly drowned in the seas of democracy.
In 2017, North Korea advanced their nuclear program while the orange guy played a game with Kim Jong Un called “Mine is bigger than yours.” Here’s hoping at least one of them understands the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction. I know, I know, hope isn’t enough, but it’s one of those few areas people like me actually have complete control over, unlike America’s nuclear codes.
Three Republican Senators saved the Affordable Care Act in 2017. We were flabbergasted and thrilled. Unfortunately, as moved as we were by Senator John McCain’s dramatic thumbs down right in front of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s smug face, we were equally appalled when all three of those senators, including several Trump-is-awful-and-I’m-not-running-for-re-election legislators voted for the #GOPTaxScamBill which eliminated the individual mandate of the ACA. 13,000,000 people will be thrown off their healthcare. The lie, “Obamacare is imploding” spouted for years by the GOP, will ultimately come true on your watch. Prepare yourself.
Speaking of healthcare and the #GOPTaxBillScam, Congress refused to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) and instead gave themselves, their big-dollar donors, and large corporations huge, permanent tax cuts. 9,000,000 children begin to lose health insurance today, your first day of existence, while the 1% continues to reap the benefits of the 115th Congress’ lack of care for humanity. The hypocrites who voted right down party lines had the audacity to say this legislation will help middle class families and spur job growth. Psst: It’s trickle down economics, a disproven theory that caused the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Stop shaking your head, 2018, we can handle this.
In what has become a groundbreaking resurgence of the #MeToo movement, women and men finally came forward and called out their abusers. Big names in entertainment and government fell after years of taking advantage of their power in the form of sexual harassment and abuse: Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Rep. John Conyers, and Sen. Al Franken. Yes, those last two guys, who have been long-time allies of real people, resigned, and no, Republicans haven’t followed suit, still maintaining the outdated mentality that “boys will be boys” and “she probably asked for it.” One of the worst of them works in an important office; it’s oval. By the way, Time Magazine named the Silence Breakers Person of the Year.
Here is a name you’ll want to pay attention to, 2018: Robert Mueller. Enough said.
Also over this last year, a resurgence of the “poor white people” attitude flooded America. They polished their pitchforks, lit their torches, and murdered a 32-year old named Heather Heyer in the name of white power and nationalism (alt-Right a.k.a neo-Nazis). Twitler in Chief responded with “I think there is blame on both sides.” Then Heather’s mother refused to take his calls. Heather died a hero; her mom’s a hero, too. So are the people who continue to ensure Confederacy “heroes” have their statues removed from our parks.
NFL players across the country, and other amateur and professional athletes around the world, knelt for the National Anthem to highlight police brutality against people of color in the United States. The President called them “sons of bitches” and said they should be fired.
2018, I know that’s a lot, but there’s still so much left to tell. Let me just give you a few more lowlights of 2017: DACA ended; Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria; Puerto Rico; 307 mass shootings, including Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, TX; Roy Moore; Betsy DeVos; Flynn, Manafort, and Papadopoulos (see Mueller reference above); Pruitt and the EPA; Mnuchin and the Treasury; Spicer, Scaramucci, and Sanders; the “Pence Rule;” Wildfires and decreased funding for preventing or fighting them; Muslim ban, no Muslim ban, reinstated Muslim ban, no Muslim ban; No wall; Covfefe; NATO, the UN and a pattern of embracing despots and alienating allies; No Paris Climate Agreement; the FCC and #NetNeutrality. And this is just in OUR country.
Now, listen 2018, I don’t want you to think that I hate 2017. I don’t. It was a hard year, but it also had its highlights:
- #TheResistance was born and made her move to take back democracy and America with you.
- The #WomensMarch (you’ll see her repeat her greatness on January 20 of your year, too).
- Women got to work and found their voices again. They rose up in a tidal wave of activism and even in campaigns for local and national public offices (like me here in #CA42 running for the US House against an incredibly rotten, millionaire, career politician, and sell-out).
- Good men decided to take on their corrupt leaders, too. However, for 2018, I believe it should and will be #TheYearoftheWoman.
- Strangers helped each other during natural disasters like #HurricaneHarvey and #HurricaneMaria.
- #MeToo broke the silence.
- The transgender ban in the military was overturned.
- Mattel released an hijab-wearing Barbie in honor of a Muslim gold medalist.
- Elizabeth Warren persisted.
- Democrats won decisive victories in Virginia and New Jersey. Imagine, the author of the anti-trans bathroom bill in VA goes down to Danica Roem, TRANSGENDER WOMAN! Thank you, Karma and VOTERS.
- Moore, an accused pedophile, lost to Doug Jones who became the first democratic senator in Alabama in 20 years thanks to the African-American vote. Help us to lift up this community, 2018. They’ve been through enough and keep saving us despite how much we ignore them.
- Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who started the movement of athletes kneeling for the National Anthem, earned the following awards: SoCal ACLU’s Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, GQ’s Citizen of the Year, and Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
- The earth kept spinning to bring us to today.
So, 2018, now you know. You know how you got here and you know how huge your responsibility is to the world. However, I promise, as do millions of others, that we will not abandon you. We won’t sit down. We won’t shut up. We won’t go gently into that good night.
We will march.
We will stand.
We will shout.
We will run for office.
And we will win.