I am not sorry to see the end of 2017. To be honest, it was a lot more than that. I am pleased to see the back of 2017. It was a truly shitty year. Abominable. Wretched. Putrid. Feculent. Let me count eight ways:
1. Donald Trump became President and has encouraged the worst elements of our society to believe they can be mainstream. The KKK. White Supremacists. Science Deniers. Vaccine Deniers. Racists. Xenophobes. Homophobes. Anti-Semites. Anti-Immigrant fanatics. All these total assholes now believe we want to hear from them and would benefit from such. News flash: No, we don’t, and no, we won’t.
2. I am not poor. I am, however, unemployed by the Corporate world, and therefore on my own for health insurance. The change in administration and control of both houses of Congress seriously threatened my ability to obtain health insurance. That possibility, so zealously pursued by the Republicans who are insistent that the Affordable Care Act is some evil threat to our country, loomed large for quite some time. Thwarted by just a couple of Republicans with a conscience, the damage averted. I thank them for that. Without the ACA, my wife and I would be uninsured. Forget how much it costs (I’ll pay), it would just not be available. We both have health issues that, if re-occurred, could bankrupt us without the price discounts negotiated by health insurers. As it is, the State of Ohio left us with only two options, both HMO plans tied to hospital systems, and I pay out of system prices to see any of my former doctors. Thanks for the scare, the worry, and the trauma, you rotten, mean-spirited bastards.
3. My wife got a new car after her old car hit 160,000 miles. A cute vehicle with low profile tires, overpowered and fun to drive. Except those tires tend to go flat with small potholes and other normal road conditions. Happened twice on our way to vacation. Did I mention that no one carries these tires? That they require shipping from California? That they are lousy for the winter? I now own ten – four for winter, four for three season driving and two spares. When did owning a car require becoming a tire distributor? Shit.
4. The world, never been very warm and fuzzy about this in the past, has become an even more precarious place for Jews. Unfortunately, it has become routine in the UK, France, Belgium, and New Zealand among others. The Arab Middle East is a write-off in this regard. How about the fact that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports a 67% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States from 2016 to 2017? Moreover, to Point #1 above, anti-Semitic incidents rose by 182% post-Charlottesville. A 107% increase from ’16 to ’17 of anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 schools. I used to think the American experience for Jews was unique in its safety and acceptance. I still do, for the most part, but must admit I don’t feel as secure as I once did. Remember, it is not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
5. I am the father of two daughters. It is making me crazy with all the old men who apparently think nothing of harassing, pressuring, and otherwise insulting younger women. I can’t fathom it. Fathers of daughters (as at least a start) need to begin to chastise our colleagues, friends, and family members who think this is acceptable behavior. It is not. These privileged jerks need to be outed, ridiculed and ostracized. Just read a piece about a troop of Girl Scouts who were raising money by selling programs at a sporting event. We are talking 8-11-year-old girls. Got called sweetie, and dear and were invited by old men to be their “girlfriend.” One got called “pushy” when she refused the offer of a patch on her vest (no doubt put there by the old fart) and insisted on the $5 for the program. Another got called a bitch. They were not thanked for their efforts (as the Cub Scouts were) nor did people thank them and shake their hand for their efforts (as they did with the Cub Scouts). They were insulted, played for jokes and grins, and undervalued. This shit better stop, or the girls and women in our life are going to arm themselves and fight back and us men are going to be surprised as all hell when they do. That “pushy bitch” will take you completely out, and you’ll deserve every bit of it if you don’t learn how to treat women fairly.
6. The Cavs lost the NBA championship, the Bears sucked at 5-11, and the Browns tied the record for the most losses in a season at 0-16. The Indians lost in the playoffs, as did the Cubs. They overlooked OSU for the National Championship playoffs. The only glimmer of hope was that the Cowboys missed the playoffs.
7. Wells Fargo cheated on everybody who ever had an account with them – they created additional fictitious accounts for their customers and charged fees. They did the same with credit card accounts. They false-talked clients into paying mortgage fees that were unnecessary. In the past, they manipulated payments as to trigger overdraft payments, they deceived student loan holders and illegally steered “free” checking customers into fee-generating accounts they did not ask for nor need. If this isn’t a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO), I do not know what else it has to call it. Yes, they paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, but why hasn’t the entire executive team been brought to trial? When they went after the Gambino family, they put all the Capos in jail. How is this different? They have helped create the impression that all of us in the business world are cheaters. Thanks, you total assholes.
8. My father died at age 88. My best friend after my spouse. The guy I talked to multiple times a week swapping funny stories, bad jokes, book reviews, and trying out clever insults and sincerely profane Anglo-Saxon words to describe the politicians we hated. The guy who couldn’t use the internet, but could remember the first lines of poetry from his college days and ask me to look up the whole poem. The man whose values I try to emulate and whose athletic prowess I did not inherit. The last grandparent. Almost a year later and goddammit, I still miss him every day. If for no other reason, this would make 2017 my annus horribilus.
So, goodbye 2017, good riddance. I am not going to miss you one little bit.