Curtain Raiser

The Year of Lying Shamelessly, Colltalers

Among other things, December is list-obsessed time. From the best-of kind to those who’ve left us, from what’ve done to what we’ve chosen. Although it’s all relative and depends of whose point of view is considered, some years do seem to take more away from us than others.
Of all that’s been lost in 2017, a new found strength has pushed back the overall dragging forces: the #metoo movement, a Women’s Lib for the new millennium. Through the year, it’s been consistent, fearless and on issue. Once more, women are to inspire society to do better again.
That’s certainly what we need at a time when lists will likely focus, even if critically, on Trump and his swampy White House. But the issues women have finally managed to top everyone’s concerns – sexual harassment, abuse of power, too much leeway for corrupted men – will require a great deal of soul searching and sacrifice from everyone. Specially men, who’d do best if they’d shut up and listen for a change.
This year’s inventory of losses can be a depressing reminder of how much work is needed for us to regain some sense of accountability as a nation, of justice as society, and dignity as individuals. An immoral president is bound to reveal the rot of America in ways we’d rather ignore.
If any hope is to be held for 2018, it’ll rely on willingness to face our worst traits with unblinking eyes and an unflinching stare. No longer home of the brave and the land of the free, if anything, Trump and the courage of women have exposed our shameful underbelly in ways we’ve tried hard to avoid. We can’t boast our honorable system or open opportunities for all, if we don’t have the guts to change our ways.
For not all that’s lost can’t be recovered, just as not everything we won should be celebrated. With due respect to those used to having things unfairly taken away from them, to sort through

and figure out why we’ve lost what we did may be a needed step for us to get it all back.
We’ve all had a particularly flawed year in America, circa 2017. And if one takes only 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as a reference, then nepotism, for instance, is now a dead word; diplomacy is a slur; and sexual harassment is a way to be voted into office. Never mind that the majority of Americans don’t believe in this upside world; truth was under attack all year, and those risking their lives to defend it were branded traitors.
While hate words and empty promises were part of the president’s arsenal of diatribes, more than ever people were disregarded, shut down, or suffered the blunt of the state’s apparatus originally designed to prosecute criminals. In fact, many were charged with exactly the same things Trump is working overtime to hide, but while he’s so far avoided any consequence of his public acts, others sit in jail, unnoticed, as we speak,
So let’s run an imperfect, incomplete, and by heavens, far from straight set list of what we’ve got short of, in the past 12 months. And, without ducking responsibility for our part in falling for this Grand Theft scheme, we vow not to relent on our demands for their safe return.
We need to prepare and be ready to when people wake up to what was chipped off from their meager incomes; to what’s now charged when it was supposed to be their right to have; and to what they were promised as a fair reward for their unwavering allegiance. For it won’t pretty.
Those currently in power have lied to us through their teeth, and continued to do so even when caught red handed. No apology will suffice, or penalty be harsh enough for these con men. Thieves of the temple will get no mercy if it’s proven they’ve sold everyone a bag of rotten goods.
The inauguration set the themes that would percolate through this year in purgatory. For before the president could repeat his lie about the crowd’s size – which he did often afterwards – the massive Women’s March made a stronger statement about what Americans are really about.
It’s not about size, it said, but about decency, democratic values, inclusion. You may insist on your fantasy world, where you are king and everybody else is there to serve you, it seemed to state, but you don’t fool us: we’re here, we outnumber you, and we won’t let you define us.
Soon after, a mostly anonymous judiciary force pushed back at the president’s various attempts to ban people and to criminalize immigration, against 200 years of U.S. history. He may got his way, though, and it was everybody’s loss. Take this one down for us to take it back in 2018.
Speaking of immigrants, even though they’ve illegally persecuted and kicked out in arguably record numbers, it’s been admirable how humble and honorable their leadership has been in the process. Immigrants truly represent what’s best about America, not the president. And yet, it’s another item in our inventory that we must keep on top of the list of things to regain very soon, one among many to make us great again.
Since the election, we’ve also lost a certain demographics of white women, who couldn’t stand Hillary Clinton and chose to elect a confessed sex abuser. We’re still to welcome them back. But another demographics the Clinton campaign misread seems to be fully back on, to the betterment of everyone. For the defeat of the Alabama’s pedophile judge wouldn’t have happened hadn’t been for the record black vote.
Mostly from, you’ve guessed, black women, who not just showed up in troves, but also taught us a lesson on overcoming hurdles placed by Republicans to prevent the minority vote. And that in a state notorious for its white supremacist leanings and rampant racial discrimination.
Apparently we’re losing the Supreme Court for good. Clever backstage handlers of the new regime have been doing a mostly uncontested job at clearing the bleachers to make room to the well-heeled to argue their cases for yet more privilege. That one will take time, we’re afraid.
We also lost, at least in the first round, the battle of keeping access to the Internet free and democratic. But here is a fitting word of cautious optimism: activist groups, some Attorneys General, states and even some media providers have vowed to challenge in court the Federal Communications Commission’s vote of two – versus a citizen’s large majority – to hand control over the Web to a handful of big corporations.
Also, Europe and the rest of the world are just now realizing that most content they get on their end is generated and produced in the U.S., no bragging about. Thus some help may be on the way for users, even if it means receiving more foreign content on our desktops. Bring it on.
Then what turned out to be the biggest theme of the year, one that has had immediate global impact and deservedly so: sex abuse of women by powerful men, starting from the top, the president himself. We must strongly support their claims before any ‘moving on’ on this issue.
For that’s what’s been a widespread, and tone deaf, response from even those considered ‘enlightened males.’ Again, not just to celebrities and well-intentioned men, wanting to pitch in, but also to new Senator Doug Jones and all others who should know better: shut the hell up.
This is a moment that every man, no matter where they stand on the food chain, has to look inwards for ways to relate to an undeniable truth: women are, and have been way before John Lennon’s appropriation of the term, the ‘N’ of the world, the slave of the slaves, and now as they finally got our attention, it’s up to them to say when our typically male ‘formula to a resolution so to move on’ input is needed. Shush, please.
Few can say we come to this end feeling refreshed and ready to a new start. But it is what it is: even butterflies have their moment of ugliness. There are always more reasons to give up than excuses to push forward. Being alive is also about choosing the bigger boat.
If it all sounds like platitudes, or the musings of someone privileged enough to have an outlet to vent, here are two more self-indulgent, first-world reasons we hold next year as a beacon: the end of the Internet as we know it will also kick our channel off the air. And despite all irrational hope, our team lost the world championship game. So, for now, we’re shutting up with still some left in the tank. Happy Holidays. WC

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