2017 will most certainly go down as one of the most transformative and difficult years in the history of the republic. A year in which our most abhorrent instincts overwhelmed our better angels.
We Americans are not a perfect people. But we have always prided ourselves on being a society of acceptance, compassion, fairness and the rule of law. Those cornerstones of our society have been threatened this year by a wave of political, cultural and moral attacks unlike any in our history.
I don’t mean to sound hyperbolic, but it is difficult to discuss 2017 without acknowledging that we are witnessing the moral decay of our society.
How else does one explain the election of a self proclaimed sexual predator to the highest office in the land?
How else does one explain the rise of a statutory rapist to the candidacy for the United States Senate?
How else does one explain the accepted subordination of facts and truth to “alternative facts” and “fake news?”
How else does one explain the subordination of the rule of law…including the tenants of the constitution…for political gain?
How else does one explain the passage of laws that heap riches on the already rich at the expense of the poor?
How else does one explain the denigration of our traditional democratic allies while embracing the rule of autocrats and dictators?
They say the fish rots from the head and so it was this year.
This all started with the election of a president, who by his own words, is a narcissist, a racist, a bigot, a sexual predator, a homophobe and a compulsive liar. His election to the highest office in the land gave permission for those who long harbored those views in the shadows to bring their venom into the sunlight of public discourse. Long held societal norms no longer mattered and the truth became whatever was convenient at the time. Elected leaders who swore to protect the constitution and the rule of law cowered in the face of the onslaught; prioritizing their political careers over the good of the people.
History tells us that the great societies of the past lasted about 300 years before succumbing to the worst in human nature and being destroyed from within. Are we to suffer the same fate?
Let us hope that 2018 brings about the return of our better angels.