In 2016, the nation was deeply divided on a multitude of issues. As opposed to a year of civility and wholesome memories, 2016 saw tragedies in the form of deaths of beloved celebrities as well as an election of one of the most egocentric politicians in history. 2016 was widely regarded to many as one of the worst years on record. Late Night TV host John Oliver, ended the season of “Last Week Tonight” with a montage of various celebrities and citizens of New York City expressing their discontent with 2016.

 

Women's March 2017

Women’s March 2017 (Isabella Basco/MUI Daily News)

Almost everyone hoped for a better 2017 and one with less strife. In an uncanny way, those expectations somehow came true but also did not occur at once. Throughout 2017, the divided states of America’s issues were prevalent and on great display for the world to see, starting at the very beginning of the year with the inauguration of a reality TV star-turned-populist candidate Donald Trump as president.

 

The day following his inauguration, over three million activists from every major city in America and others around the world, marched in response to social issues prevalent in many countries; there were also several powerful and massive protests against the president elect. The Women’s March was by far, the largest single-day protest in American history

 

 

Despite vile acts of hatred in 2017, such as the chaos in Charlottesville, Virginia and a slew of other hate crimes occurring in cities around the nation which have led to high-profile protests from NFL players, good-hearted Americans found more to bond over than to divide them. Case in point, the unknown amount of charitable actions carried out by courageous individuals in Houston during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is perfect proof of the goodness of people in action.

 

Notable examples include furniture legend Jim McIngvale otherwise known as Mattress Mac opening his stores for those affected and Houston Texans’ defensive end JJ Watt raising $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief. These and many other courageous actions during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma showed Americans, regardless of creed, gender or religion, all coming together and helping one another. Even through the ugly hatred and white supremacy put on display on numerous occasions, the goodness in people triumphed through it all.

 

Danica Roem, America's first transgender legislator

Danica Roem (PBS)

As opposed to 2016 which saw some of the most political upsets in American history, 2017 was a year of progressive and inspirational political firsts. For example, the 13th District of Virginia elected Danica Roem, a Democratic journalist and the first publicly self-identified transgender legislator in American history, over 13-term Republican Bob Marshall who described himself as the “chief homophobe” of Virginia. Additionally, despite hateful flyers with the words “do not let terrorism take over our town” being disseminated about Ravinder Bhalla, he still won the mayoral election for the city of Hoboken, and became the first elected Sikh mayor in New Jersey history.

 

Also, worth noting about this past year, was the birth of the #MeToo movement, which held those who committed sexual misconduct responsible for their actions. Americans have had to endure tales of atrocious sexual harassment encounters and/or allegations levied against some of the most celebrated and established men across multiple industry segments. Beginning in the second half of 2017, almost on a monthly basis, Americans read about Hollywood icons Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, comedians like Louis CK, as well journalists such as Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, all being held accountable by brave individuals who stepped forward to tell their stories.

 

2017 may go down as one containing strife and divisiveness; but, this past year will equally go down as being one of fortitude, power, standing up for what America truly represents, and overcoming the odds to either gain a political seat or bravely admit to being a victim of sexual misconduct.

 

How did you feel about 2017? Tell me your feelings on Twitter at @CaptainKasoff.