Not too many people are going to miss 2017. Permit me to recap and analyze some of the goings-on this past year and then discuss a few hopes I have for 2018.
—As it turns out, the god of evangelicalism is not actually the God from the Bible. Since the early ’80s or so, evangelical leaders have tried mightily to fool America into believing their god and God are one and the same. In 2017, they finally quit the charade. Without actually saying it, they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt they worship worldly power. They’ve got a god, all right. It’s just not the one they’ve been telling us it is. If I understand the Bible correctly, people like Jerry Falwell Jr. are up for that millstone necklace unless they repent and change their ways (Luke 17:1, 2).
—Jag-mo roll call: Mario Batali, Louis C.K., John Conyers, Bill Cosby, Al Franken, Garrison Keillor, Matt Lauer, Danny Masterton, Jeremy Piven, Charlie Rose, Russell Simmons, Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein … et al. Gosh, I’m out of breath. What a courageous and powerful upshot #metoo is.
—Despite two profound, logically ironclad arguments for sensible gun control, made in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, this year, nothing has been done to sensibly control guns. The broader public was made aware of the bump stock, a simple device that turns a semiautomatic rifle into an automatic rifle. The measurable killing power of the AR-15 is thusly bumped from “lots of dead family and friends” to “tons of dead family and friends.” At least we figured out what “thoughts and prayers” means in the language of National Rifle Association-funded Congress members: “Go [email protected]^ yourself, victims.”
—In the wake of Roy Moore’s Great Alabama Crash and Burn (or Doug Jones’ Great Alabama Fork-in-the-Socket), well, the whole thing has been dissected behind closed doors and in the press by pundits and strategists, Republicans and Democrats, presidents, rednecks, sages and doofs absolutely to death. And back to life. And back to death again. But let’s just say (read: hope) the reason Moore didn’t make it to the Senate is because of, well, reason. As in, speaking reasonably, would a racist pedophile make a good senator? Ah. When you put it that way ….
—Black lives matter. Not talking about the unduly politicized grassroots equality movement here. I mean the lives of ordinary black voters in Alabama. And to whom do those black lives matter? You. If you happen to be an American. Of any color. Or political persuasion. Whether you’re from Alabama. Whether you even think it’s true. Black voters kept Roy Moore out of the Senate. They saved us from the un-American ideals of a deluded bigot. Those voters are American heroes.
—President Donald Trump should be fully investigated and properly prosecuted for the sexual crimes he’s bragged about. I hope it happens in 2018. The recent pronunciation by Trump’s personal lawyer that he, Trump, is unprosecutable simply because he is the president suggests that Trump’s personal lawyer and perhaps Trump himself are unfamiliar with the United States of America. The ideals of the American Revolution, we’ll recall, can be distilled as such: Even the leader of our nascent nation is not above the law. That was the problem with King George. He did whatever he wanted, and our forefathers rightly revolted. To place the president above the law is to return America to a state of colonial servitude. All those bumper stickers with the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag? This is what that flag is talking about.
—Trump should also be fully investigated and properly prosecuted for his role in and knowledge of the Russian Collusion Fiasco and International Embarrassment.
—Some elections are coming up in 2018. Vote your conscience, of course, but if your conscience urges you to vote alt right, consider re-examining the moral, philosophical and religious foundations you’ve built your conscience upon.
—In 2018, I hope white male Americans (of which I am one, it should be noted) deeply internalize a broad notion of empathy. Toward minorities, toward women, toward immigrants … basically toward everybody else. I hope, as a general principle of good living, we seek to understand before we seek to correct.
So that’s it. Raise a champagne flute or, if you’re like me at the end of 2017, raise that bottle of Wild Turkey you’re already holding and ring in the new year. 2018, please don’t let us down.
Paul Luikart is a writer whose work has appeared in a number of places over the years. His most recent book, “Animal Heart,” is available now from Hyperborea Publishing. Follow him on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.