A year ago many predicted that by this time President Trump’s America would be blown up by nuclear bombs, gripped in a race war, taken over by the Russians or worse. None of these things actually happened thankfully, as far as we know, yet the “liberal MSM (mainstream media)” told us at the start of 2018 that 2017 was basically the worst year of all time for everyone everywhere except Trump and his supporters.
In December, Twitter was full of melancholy Democrats and headlines from the MSM like “Was 2017 the worst year ever?” (British GQ) and “Gallop study confirms that 2017 really is worse than 2016” (The Washington Post). Trump has yet to bring about the end of times, yet some in the media would like us to think the country has never been worse.
No, 2017 was not the worst year ever.
I think last year could’ve been A LOT worse, I can think of many years in human history that have been A LOT worse than 2017 and this incessant feeling of dread and despair among anti-Trumpers serves only as a distraction from engaging in real political discourse.
Of course 2017 wasn’t great. It will be remembered for sexual assault/harassment, xenophobia, white supremacy, anti-immigration and anti-truth, all of which was perpetuated by the White House, which is the whitest it’s been in recent memory.
But if you told me in 2016 that all 2017 would bring was extreme partisanship, lies from politicians, a federal investigation of collusion, 10 crazy days in July with “The Mooch” and not the death and destruction of humankind, I’d be quite relieved.
Yes, some very bad things happened in America. We had the worst mass shooting in our history, there were natural disasters, there was #MeToo, there was racism and there was a lot of hatred.
But, we can learn from these events. Now we know about the hidden sexual predators. They’ve been outed. We also know that white supremacists still exist. They can’t stay hidden anymore.
If 2017 was the worst year ever that would make it worse than any year during the bubonic plague, worse than any given year during the Great Depression or World War II or the Holocaust, and dinosaur-lovers would be offended if you told them this year was worse than the time a giant asteroid struck the earth and killed everything here. Last year doesn’t seem so bad in comparison to those. They didn’t even build the wall!
Nicholas Kristoff wrote for The New York Times that 2017 was actually the best year in human history. He said, “A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before. A smaller proportion of children died than ever before. The proportion disfigured by leprosy, blinded by diseases like trachoma or suffering from other ailments also fell.” Our disagreements over healthcare and taxes pale in comparison to child hunger and disease.
The idea that 2017 was the worst is a partisan one. These headlines would come from Breitbart and Fox News if Hillary Clinton had won. Republicans won more than the Democrats in 2017, but believe it or not, that’s not the end of the world. And a Trump presidency certainly could’ve been the end had things gone a little differently.
Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or of its staff. Ryan Suppe studies journalism and philosophy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @salsuppe