by Reggie Fullwood
It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone.
2017 was an extraordinary year in so many ways.
First of all, it’s hard not to lead off with Donald Trump’s first year as President and the Donald did not disappoint. He has been just as silly, childish, arrogant and ill-informed as he was before the election.
His supporters wanted to “Take America Back,” and that is exactly what they have done – taken the country back to some very troubling times in our history. An era when civil rights and civic equality were just far fetched goals. Today openly vocal racial agitators from events such as the riots in Charlottesville, VA and other racially motivated shenanigans have become the norm.
One could easily argue that 2017 was the year of the woman in many ways.
The year started with a major women’s march on Washington DC. Thousands of women gathered in the nation’s capital and large cities around the country to reaffirm their commitment to the issues important to “most” women. Issues like equal pay, reproductive rights, Blacks Lives Matter and of course their disdain for Donald Trump. And I intentionally said used quotations around “most” because there are some females, especially conservative women, that think that females should not be protesting about anything. I imagine that would most likely be a large percentage of the women that voted for Trump. What I found most powerful about the pseudo “Million Woman March” was that it was certainly centered in Washington DC, but dozens of cities had marches simultaneously from New York to Los Angles, and Jacksonville, FL to Austin, TX, ladies and men around the country came together for women’s rights and to send a message that they had a voice that needed to be heard. And by the way, according to crowd scientist, the women’s march in Washington was roughly three times the size of the audience at President Trump’s inauguration. Of course, in Trump’s mind he had the biggest inauguration crowd of all time (LOL).
The year also started with Trump introducing what has been his most controversial policy initiative to date – his travel executive order. The courts quickly shot it down for being discriminatory and unconstitutional. You have to love what this new President has done to the country. Now racists and bigots actually feel safe to say what is on their minds. Thank you Donald Trump for bringing 1963 back. What’s next, the appointment of David Duke as White House Civil Rights adviser?
Speaking of racism and bigots, one of the biggest issues in 2017 was the Confederate monuments and flag issue. Many Americans feel that the Confederate flag and certain monuments dedicated to “southern heroes” being displayed in public places are offensive. The other side says that it’s simply heritage, and both sides of this issue are very passionate. The difference is that one side is celebrating a heritage of hate, bigotry and vicious racism and the other side recognizes the great history of American diversity, pride and resilience. One side is stuck glorifying the past and the other side is looking towards a better America in the future. Dozens of monuments came down in 2017, I have a feeling that this issue isn’t going away.
Oh yeah, OJ Simpson was released from prison. Yeah, I know – who cares.
Gun control remained a key issue in 2017 with more mass killings on American soil. The worst of these mass shootings was in Las Vegas where a lone gunman killed 58 people and injured another 500. This became the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. It seems so unbelievable that a lone gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on people attending a country music festival on the Las Vegas strip.
Back to the President for a moment. Not only did Trump’s campaign manager and other lieutenants get indicted by Special Counsel Mueller, but we also learned more about the role Russia played in helping Trump get elected. We found out that Russia poured millions of dollars into manipulating the American public through social media pages and websites like YouTube. Never before in U.S. history (that we know of) has this been done. I am not saying that this is an act of war, but it’s an act of disrespect, defiance and down right dirty politics. Stay tuned for more truths to be uncovered as Mueller continues his investigation in 2018.
2017 also saw a very unique situation in sports – the NFL to be specific. It all started in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick – formerly with the San Francisco 49ers, started taking a knee during the National Anthem in protest of the inequalities and police brutality that minorities have faced in the country. Kaepernick lost his job and has yet to be picked up for his protest despite being an outstanding quarterback. Fast forward to the 2017 NFL season where almost every team decided to show “unity” during the National Anthem where some players chose to lock arms while others decided to kneel at the beginning of the season.
President Trump basically stoked the flames and in many ways was responsible for the player/team protest. At a rally in Alabama, h e proclaimed that NFL team owners should fire players for taking a knee. He actually said that owners should, “fire the sons of Bs.” Yes, a sitting U.S. President actually used that type of language in public – unbelievable. I guess it’s the new American normal – blatant ignorance in the White House. Hopefully a winning football team will be the new normal for Jacksonville.
The year also saw major celebrity deaths like musicians Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Tom Petty. Then there was Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, Bill Paxton, Della Reese, Roger Moore, and Jerry Lewis. My grandmother was really saddened that “People’s Court” star, judge Joseph Wapner, passed in 2017.
Happy New Year, and may 2018 bring many blessings and prosperity your way. Go Jaguars!