Five Great Things that Happened in 2017
2017 was a year filled with chaos, tragedy, and tension. Natural disasters devastated the world. Two of the five deadliest mass shootings in United States history happened in the span of thirty-five days. Hate crimes in America rose for the second straight year. All in all, it can be easy to get discouraged. It can be easy to forget that this year also gave many people the reason to hope, to smile, and to see the possibility of a better world in 2018. Here are just five things that made 2017 not so terrible after all:
Historic Election Wins for the Transgender Community
Election night was filled with historic firsts, including many for the transgender community. Danica Roem’s win for a House of Delegates seat in Virginia was a enormous step forward for the transgender community and the country as a whole. She blew away conservative Delegate Bob Marshall (who proudly refers to himself as Virginia’s “chief homophobe”) by a whopping ten points, thus becoming the first openly transgender elected to a state legislature in American history. Andrea Jenkins in Minneapolis also made history, becoming the first openly transgender candidate to win a city council seat in a major city while Tyler Titus became the first openly transgender person in Pennsylvania state history by winning a seat on the Erie school board. These victories are not only historic, but symbolic. Only a few months after Trump issued his infamous tweets about wanting to ban transgender troops from the military, the nation responded by electing three transgender candidates to prominent positions.
#MeToo Movement Gives a Voice to Harassment Victims and Holds Predators Accountable
The #MeToo movement has empowered victims of sexual harassment and assault. Finally, an issue that has been downplayed for so long is being brought to the forefront of the national conversation. Predators are at long last being held accountable for their actions and impunity for high-profile stars is no longer acceptable. While the battle against harassment is far from over, the movement this year has brought this issue into the light. Now society can finally work on addressing a problem that has been plaguing way too many people for way too long.
Political Activism Skyrockets
President Trump has inadvertently inspired millions to get involved in activism and protests. The Women’s March in January tripled the crowd size of the president’s inauguration, making it the largest day of protests in United States history. That was only the beginning. Over the next few months, protestors showed up at airports to protest Trump’s travel ban. They marched on Tax Day to pressure him into releasing his tax returns and again in the summer to protest his environmental agenda. Americans are coming out in droves to fight back against the president and his policies. This kind of passion and political fervor is what the country needs if it ever wants to return to any sense of normalcy.
Promising Developments for the Global Environment
Despite President’s Trump’s best efforts to destroy the climate, 2017 held some great news for conservationists worldwide. For starters, scientists think they may have found a way to successfully restore sections of the Great Barrier Reef. Also both snow leopards and manatees are no longer on the endangered species list and honey bee populations continued to increase steadily after years of worry that the species were heading for extinction. Scientists are planning to plant over seventy-three million trees over the next six years in the Amazon rainforest and New Zealand’s next prime minster wants to plant one hundred million trees next year. All in all, these are extremely encouraging developments for the environment and the entire world going forward.
Bonding Together for the Solar Eclipse
And lastly, who can forget this summer when Americans across the nation witnessed the solar eclipse for the first time since 1979? The event may seem trivial compared to the other monumental happenings on this list, but the day was as close to a day of peace that our country has had in a long time. As Americans watched the eclipse happen in the sky with their special sunglasses on, everything else seemed to matter less. There was no fighting over politics or race or any of the countless things that divide people. All eyes looked up in awe and, for a brief moment, differences were put aside as we marveled over a wonder of the universe.
So while it may be easy to dismiss 2017 as a forgettable year, remember the good things. Remember the historic firsts Americans brought about in the polls. Remember people coming together to call out the unacceptable, whether it was in Washington or in the workplace. Remember the hard work it took to repair the global environment and the promising results we are starting to see. None of these things could have been accomplished by one person. By joining forces to stand up for what’s right, good people saved 2017. Together, we are what will make 2018 the best year yet.