Who knew that after the atrocity that was 2016, 2017 could get more stressful and more bananas? But, 2017 surpassed all expectations of chaos and calamity. We were barraged on a daily basis by unbelievable headlines and tweets. Our eyes were opened to all manner of corruption and injustice. And many of us found ourselves flailing for any kind of purchase on reality.
Still … as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; and we have definitely become stronger.
For every heinous act perpetrated by this so-called administration, heroes and heroines have arisen from every walk of life to do battle and – often – emerge victorious. The judicial branch of our government remains a a bastion of the truth and of liberty and justice for all. Journalism has seen a renaissance that was unexpected but sorely needed. And everyday people like you and me have joined ranks to stand up against tyranny, fascism, bigotry, and autocracy. We are finding our voices and learning to use them. We are reengaging with the political process, and that endeavor is bringing us closer to our neighbors and our communities and to like-minded people all around the world.
Yes, 2017 was a bumpy ride, to say the least; but it was also a much-needed awakening. And now, as we step into the New Year, it’s time to sharpen our resolve and get down to the hard-but-worthwhile work of fixing this democracy. The midterm elections are nearly upon us, and we need to be fierce and furious in our commitment to making sure every person gets a vote and every vote is counted.
In other words – buckle up, Buttercup. Things are just getting interesting.
In the meantime, we need to remember to take a moment when we can to acknowledge all the Good Things that are happening in the world – here at home and abroad.
Happy New Year!
In local good news:
- Watertown town councilor takes knee during Pledge of Allegiance
- The office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey took credit Thursday now that Eversource is asking for less money in a rate increase from its Western Massachusetts customers.
- After A Hectic 2017, The ACLU Continues Fight Against Trump Administration In 2018
- Salem’s Shopping Bag Ban Goes Into Effect January 1, 2018
- While some people are still denying the reality of climate change, people around the world and across the country are feeling the effects of more severe weather of all kinds. There are many tragedies, but sometimes there are heartwarming stories, too, like this one out of San Antonio Texas where game wardens rescued 151 sea turtles from stunning cold along Texas Coast.
- This is not a fun or reassuring list to read, but it’s comforting that someone is keeping score. From the Alt National Park Service: “An overview of the Trump administrations 2017 acts against the environment and wildlife. This list is not yet complete, but Congress should remember that we are watching and Tuesday, November 6th is not that far away.”
- Sweden is heating homes using waste energy from the Internet.
- France banned the production of all oil and gas by 2040 and will not grant any new permits or renew existing ones that allow fracking or the extraction of fossil fuels in the country and its overseas territories.*
- Nine states agreed to enact new stronger air pollution limits as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.*
There’s also some good news on the elections front.
- At least 42 LGBTQ Texans are Running for Office in 2018
- Meet the anti-Trump candidate running to become the United States’ first Native American governor
- We’re not 100% excited about Romney, but not at all sorry to see Hatch go: Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah will retire, opening door for a Romney candidacy
- Good 2018 election news for moderates and progressives in a new poll.†
- Puerto Rico’s governor plans to organize Latino voters for the 2018 elections.†
- After multiple states refused to participate in Trump’s ridiculous and disastrous investigation into a crime that does not exist, he finally dissolved his ruse of a voter fraud commission.§
- In our end of year recap, we said 16,000 women told Emily’s List they want to run for office, but the updated number is actually way higher—25,000, to be exact.§
And here’s what’s happening on the social, civil, and economic equality and justice front:
- Silence is no longer an option. The New York Times spotlights sexual harassment in Golden Globes ‘Truth” ad.
- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dashed any hope President Donald Trump might have had that she would resign before the end of his term, announcing on Thursday that she had hired a full slate of clerks through 2020.
- Not-guilty verdicts for first six people on trial in violent Inauguration Day protests
- 8.8 million people enrolled in an ACA health plan during the open enrollment period in the 39 states that use the healthcare.gov website, close to the number of people who signed up last year.*
- A second U.S. judge blocked the administration from enforcing new rules allowing employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for women’s birth control.*
- Under new rules to combat bigotry and hate, Twitter started removing accounts, belonging to white nationalist and far-right extremists, including leaders of Britain First, the American Nazi Party, and so many others.*
- New York City passed the “Right to Know Act” that requires police to tell people they have a right to refuse to be searched when there’s no legal basis to force a search, to get proof of their consent, and requires officers to identify themselves with a business card when they stop someone.*
- A Texas police officer was convicted of murder for shooting two teenagers he chased down in his car who tried to steal his car while he was of duty and they were unarmed.*
- A 45 nominee to a U.S. District Court judgeship who struggled to answer basic questions about courtroom procedure in a video clip that went viral withdrew his name from consideration.*
- Children’s Health Insurance Program is now funded through March 2018 after much pressure (thanks to you!).†
- A federal judge blocks the administration’s restrictions on reuniting refugee families and partially lifts a ban on refugees from 11 mostly-Muslim countries.†
- Women in Hollywood launched Time’s Up, a huge initiative to combat sexual harassment with a legal defense fund to help low-income women working in a variety of fields—including the farmworkers who stood in solidarity with actresses a few months ago.§
- A new law that makes it illegal to pay men more than women just went into effect in Iceland. #EverywhereNowPlease§
- 18 states are raising the minimum wage this year. You can check to see if your state is on the list here.§
We’re also hearing some promising news on the Russia investigation front:
- This may just be related to the pressure Mueller is putting on the administration: Top Pence aides quietly depart in new year
- Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump’s Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation
And in miscellaneous, fun, and slightly snarky good news:
- Queen of the daytime comeback: Ellen Responds to Eric Trump: ‘I am Sorry to Disappoint…I am Not Part of the Deep State’
- Not strictly political (though Silverman is outspoken against Trump), this was a nice story: Sarah Silverman’s response to a Twitter troll is a master class in compassion
- And, in an interesting twist on the stage, Italy gives world-famous opera Carmen a defiant new ending in stand against violence to women
- Papa John’s founder out as CEO weeks after NFL comments
§ Hat tip to Small Victories
“Mass State House Dome”: Photo Credit: twiga_swala Flickr via Compfight cc“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“Planet Earth”: From Morguefile
“I Voted”: standing8 Flickr via Compfight cc
“Blind Justice”: Government of Prince Edward Island Flickr via Compfight cc
“Russia Sickle”: AK Rockefeller Flickr via Compfight cc
“Snark Kitty”: Gratisography
“Cardinal”: Photo Credit: Chad Horwedel Flickr via Compfight cc