Central View: The year 2017: The view from Sheepdog Hill
Granted, Sheepdog Hill is slightly lower in altitude than Mt. Olympus; nevertheless, this is how 2017 looked from here: Recall, Charles Dickens began “A Tale of Two Cities” with: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, and it was the winter of despair…” So, relative to 2017, what was it?
If one suffered the loss of a loved one, 2017 was a year of inconsolable grief. But if one remained in good health of body and mind, Thomas Carlyle famously decreed, “Health alone is victory!”
For sure, 2107 was the “age of foolishness,” as evidence by the sexual scandals that brought low some of the pillars of stage, screen, and TV, along with some current and former elected officials. For supporters of President Trump, 2017 was the “spring of hope.” For the dwindling number of never-Trumpers, 2017 was the “winter of despair.”
For devotees of global warming, 2017 was a mixed bag. The snow on top of the Antarctic icecap reached record-breaking heights. According to NASA, instead of shrinking, the Antarctic ice cap is growing by 100 billion tons of ice per year. But then, some climatologists claim the horrific hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico are evidence of global warming.
For those desiring more transparency in government, 2017 was a slowly dawning “season of light.” For those in fear of the police-state machinations of an unaccountable “deep state,” 2017 was still a “season of darkness.”
For those desiring an “epoch of belief,” 2017 was, unfortunately, a year of “fake news.” Major news organs, once thought to be paragons of journalistic virtue, allowed their hatred of Donald J. Trump, the person, to cause them to commit journalistic Hara-kiri, disemboweling their reputations as reliable sources of information.
For guardians of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, 2017 was an “epoch of incredulity.” The penumbras of shadowy plots began to be revealed, showing that the Democratic Primary may have been rigged against Candidate Bernie Sanders, that the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee may have “colluded” with certain officials in the FBI and the Obama Department of Justice to “wiretap” President-elect Trump and his prospective appointees.
The sale of 20-percent of America’s uranium assets to Russia and possible obstruction of the War on Drugs by the Obama Administration in order smooth Iran’s path toward nuclear hegemony over the Middle East may prove to be the major scandals of the year to come.
Despite the fragmentation of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, 2017 remained a “season of fear” of Islamic terrorism around the world and of domestic violence within the United States. As the mayhem in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Manhattan revealed, violence can occur in both ordinary and extraordinary places.
Yes, 2017 was a Dickens of a year. But let us end this tumultuous year on an up note from Tiny Tim who said, “God bless us, everyone!”
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and was a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Hamilton is the author of “The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: The Sage of Sheepdog Hill,” Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
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