It has been an interesting year, to say the least, bringing its fair share of negatives. The continued assaults on free speech, particularly those on our college campuses where free speech and debate should be most protected, concern me much.
First and foremost is the drama of the NFL. No, not Carson Wentz’s torn ACL when it looked like the Eagles would finally have a shot at the big game. I mean kneeling by a group of college-educated millionaires who chose to protest the inequity they have experienced in their lives.
A political climate created, I believe, by two parties who have both forgotten that they exist to serve the people. These parties believe that the people should support them or be written off as libtards or deplorables. Moreover, a national media that is more than willing to make the whole situation seem even worse just to improve ratings. They seem to have forgotten all the common souls trying our best to live our lives and raise our families.
A Senate that has no interest in governing together to improve the common good. They would just prefer to stand against the other party regardless of the subject or circumstance. I have no great love or hate for ObamaCare. Nor do I have a strong opinion on the ACA offered earlier this year. What I do want is something that will take care of as many of us as it can without collapsing under its own weight. If that is beyond the ability of the Senate to deliver, then they ought to say so and let us move on.
Next, we have another fight over tax reform. Again, not a meeting of both sides to provide a solution that suits as many as possible, but a battle between bit-players in some shabby off-Broadway melodrama, a cast of players only interested in how it contributes to re-election.
The horror of the massacre of Las Vegas is still fresh in our minds. In the midst of this tragedy, let us consider the story of Johnathan Smith, a 30-year-old copy machine repairman in the audience that night. When bullets started raining down, he shouted at people to move and guided some 30 people to safety in a parking lot. When returning to try to save others, he was shot in the neck. Johnathan survived the attack. It is this type of American spirit that reminds us that even in the worst of times the best of people endure.
Finally, we see the backlash of women stepping forward to tell their stories of harassment and abuse at the hands of people of power. Their bravery may finally change the thinking and behavior of these authority figures and teach them the lessons that the decent among us learned as young people. Men are to respect women, at work and play. Of course, women are to do the same. Which would allow us to move forward as a society; this is our inalienable right and our destiny.
So, I asked myself recently — What kind of a year has it been? I think it has been a good one. One that has provided us with no shortage of lessons to learn. One that has reminded us that we can still come together as a people. One that reminds us that the American spirit survives.
— By Michael Gross, Tribune community columnist