On the EDge: 2017, The Year of Divisiveness

Image courtesy of Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION — Wow, what a bumpy ride.

The planet will complete yet another tour around the sun in less than a week, thankfully bringing an end to a year with more “downs” than “ups.”

Usually, as we look back, as so many of us do this time of year, we see a couple of events that grabbed us, held our attention, then slipped quietly into some little file folder in the brain where we store our thoughts.

This year, that little file folder isn’t so little. And, it is filled with a lot of unpleasantness.

There were relentless hurricanes that battered us.

There were horrific displays of man’s inhumanity as innocent victims were cut down by madmen with military-grade weaponry.

There were horrific displays of man’s inhumanity as potential innocent victims were threatened by a couple of madmen with nukes who aren’t smart enough to figure their way out of a telephone booth.

Sometimes, we can capture the essence of a year with an appropriate title.

But, what exactly was 2017?

Was it The Year of The Perv? After all of the stories that surfaced about the startling incidents of sexual assaults against women, one thing is perfectly clear: If chivalry isn’t dead, it is certainly drawing its last desperate gasp.

Was 2017 The Year of The Payback? There was certainly a massive attempt at revisionism as an administration that arrived far short of a voter mandate was hell-bent to erase any vestiges of an administration that served us well for eight years with dignity and grace.

Was 2017 The Year of The Lie? The whoppers keep coming, loud and strong, in numbers too great to detail and too outlandish to legitimize.

Was 2017 The Year of Fake News? Not really. The news is the news and it is not fake. How people twist it, spin it, chew it up and digest it, however, is another story.

Was 2017 The Year of Fury? A case could easily be made that anger was the dominant emotion of the year, from the continued degradation of immigrants who look, worship and sound different from the mainstream to the venomous attacks upon those who passively took a knee in peaceful protest, our collective mood has been laced with animosity. It seems as if everybody had a hissy fit or two to throw in 2017.

For some reason, Millennials have become the targets of disgruntled ancients who disregard them as spoiled brats looking for a handout. In the old days, we called that a generation gap as those desperately trying to cling onto their long-faded youth envy those whose age and energy give them more spark and drive. Their goals may be different, they may not be motivated by the almighty green, they may have a different idea about the Great American Dream, but one thing is for sure, it won’t be long before the world is in their hands, so we’d better do our best to be supportive and offer the bits of wisdom we gathered over the years.

We were big on words like collusion and obstruction, short on words like compassion and understanding.

We saw good men and women trashed while the bad guys seemed to flourish.

We saw real and imaginary lines drawn in the sand and more flip-flops than a Mexican beach.

And, we saw some of our most important institutions come under fire, some deserved, some not.

It was a year of losses, as every year is, with some truly warm and gentle fellow travelers moving on to the next phase of their journey. They will be sadly missed.

But, for all that we are and for all that we are not, I think 2017 will best be remembered as The Year of Divisiveness.

It was a blessed year for the contrarians, who find fault with everything and everybody, who are judgmental and critical of all, including those they grudgingly find themselves in agreement with sometimes. It’s a lonely place, I imagine, where nobody is ever quite satisfied and nobody, really ever plants their feet on firm turf because they are too busy picking nits. A sort of no-man’s land where it’s always Monday.

It was a good year for bullies and belligerents, who, thanks to a lowering of the standards of civility, no longer toe the line of courtesy and consideration. I think we can all come to agreement that it is time to drain the swamp, a not-so-original term that found footing among politicians in the 1980s. We just didn’t count on the swamp being so deep, so polluted, so treacherous.

I hope 2018 returns us to some sense and sensibility, that we can, once again, partake in meaningful dialog and realize that for all of our individuality, we also share a commonality and a singular goal, which is, quite simply, happiness, which has somehow slipped from the equation.

We’ve spent too much time using fear and anger to guide us instead of reason. It’s easier to denigrate than to encourage; it’s easier to write somebody off as either a “libtard” or “repugnican” than to explore their particular ideology. Vigorous debate should never be replaced by the indignity of shunning or outright character assassination. It’s pointless and nonproductive.

It would be nice if, for a change, people examined the words of others.

Mostly, I am weary of the pathetic defense that, “Well, they do it, too!”

It’s a weak excuse, a lame retort with little to no moral or ethical substance.

Who started all of this rancor?

I don’t know and I really don’t care.

Blame it on the conservatives, if you wish, or pin it on the liberals. For all I care, lay it at the foot of the fence-sitters who spend more time balancing that line in the middle in lukewarm, at best, compromise that achieves nothing but more of the same.

I’m more concerned with the reasons for the divisiveness than the origins of it; more concerned with how to fix it rather than who to blame for it; more concerned with the fallout that has led to the brain rot that has resulted in us being more concerned with playground taunts than intellectual pursuit.

It’s time to stop thumping our chests.

It’s time to realize we are part of a global community that has become totally dependent on its neighbors.

It’s time to extend a hand in friendship instead of a single digit flashed in anger.

So goodbye and good riddance to 2017, The Year of Divisiveness.

Hello to 2018.

May we, in 365 days, look back on it as The Year of Hope.


No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • NickDanger December 26, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Liberal: divide…divide…divide…divide…divide… “Hey, what’s with all this dividedness?”

    In truth, 2017 is the year America finally started to return to its senses. The devil-may-care permissiveness of the Obama era is over. Having spent 8 years under the duress of liberal lies, Americans are beginning to realize that there is no easy answer. Tough choices with the long view in mind must be made. The people to make those choices are conservatives.

    Moral conviction and fiscal responsibility are back in the public discourse. Being white is somehow okay again. Being smart is acceptable. Telling the truth is acceptable. Politics-as-usual no longer requires the same temporary suspension of disbelief as a Broadway play.

    There’s not going to be a compromise. Liberalism is merely a containment platform for women, lesser men, and the easily-manipulated.

    I will agree with you on one thing, though, Ed – 2017 was a bad year for you.

  • johncmiller December 26, 2017 at 7:50 am

    It’s your constant negativity and political biases that have a platform in media that creates this divisiveness.
    Trying being kind and positive for a change.
    Hate and negativity doesn’t solve problems ever.

  • John December 26, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Ed, if your liberal head gets any bigger your soap box is going to collapse. You forgot all about a few of the non-scandals and non-crimes from the last administration. All bigger than anything going on today ! Here is an excerpt from your favorite source “The Huffington Compost” …”
    “Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades. Here’s a partial list:
    State Department email. In an effort to evade federal open-records laws, Mr. Obama’s first secretary of state set up a private server, which she used exclusively to conduct official business, including communications with the president and the transmission of classified material. A federal criminal investigation produced no charges, but FBI Director James Comey reported that the secretary and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling national secrets.

    • Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it had allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in the hope of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the guns was used in the fatal 2010 shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Congress held then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt when he refused to turn over documents about the operation.

    • IRS abuses. Mr. Obama’s Internal Revenue Service did something Richard Nixon only dreamed of doing: It successfully targeted political opponents. The Justice Department then refused to enforce Congress’s contempt citation against the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct.

    • Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. With less than two months to go before the 2012 election, the State Department falsely claimed the attack was not a terrorist attack but a reaction to an anti-Muslim film. Emails from the secretary later showed that she knew the attack was terrorism. Justice Department prosecutors even convinced a magistrate judge to jail the filmmaker.

    • Hacking. Mr. Obama presided over the biggest data breach in the federal government’s history, at the Office of Personnel Management. The hack exposed the personnel files of millions of federal employees and may end up being used for everything from identity theft to blackmail and espionage. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, the president’s former political director, had been warned repeatedly about security deficiencies but took no steps to fix them.

    • Veterans Affairs. At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at a Phoenix VA facility, many of whom had been on a secret waiting list—part of an effort to conceal that between 1,400 and 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months for appointments. A 2014 internal VA audit found “57,436 newly enrolled veterans facing a minimum 90-day wait for medical care; 63,869 veterans who enrolled over the past decade requesting an appointment that never happened.” Even Mr. Obama admitted, in a November 2016 press conference, that “it was scandalous what happened”—though minutes earlier he boasted that “we will—knock on wood—leave this administration without significant scandal.”

    All of these scandals were accompanied by a lack of transparency so severe that 47 of Mr. Obama’s 73 inspectors general signed an open letter in 2014 decrying the administration’s stonewalling of their investigations.

    One reason for Mr. Obama’s penchant for secrecy is his habit of breaking rules—from not informing Congress of the dubious prisoner swap involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the Taliban, to violating restrictions on cash transfers to Iran as part of a hostage-release deal.

    The president’s journalistic allies are happily echoing the “scandal-free” myth. Time’s Joe Klein claims Mr. Obama has had “absolutely no hint of scandal” in his presidency. The media’s failure to cover the Obama administration critically has been a scandal in itself—but at least the president can’t be blamed for that one.”

  • high5 December 26, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Ed, I speed read your diatribe- we don’t know who your typing to .
    Positivity is contagious – try it.

  • tcrider December 26, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Excellent article Ed, well written.
    The chief and traitor will be held accountable for treason,
    all of the confederate flag waiving nationalists that supported
    the piece of dung are traitors of this country and should move
    to Russia.

    the dungle trump,
    never my stinking pile.

    • John December 26, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Get over it already!…WAAAH WAAAH WAAAH ! What happened? Run out of coloring books or did mommy throw you out of her basement?

    • Kyle L. December 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      tcrider: Is your name short for TriCycle Rider? How are you ever going to handle the next seven years? I think you should start investing, the return with make the denial easier to take. Ed, go get a hair cut so that you look like someone your age. Maybe you can start growing up with this one little step. Stop complaining about what is happening when what is happening is good. Unemployment down, taxes down, market up, federal government down, federal handouts down, and general overall sense of well being. Smile Ed, you have seven more years to come up with some new and original complaints. Good luck! You are going to need it with things going as good as they are right now.

      • comments December 26, 2017 at 11:13 pm

        one day you trump idiots are in for a rude awakening. i hope it comes sooner than later

        • Michael December 27, 2017 at 7:04 pm

          Yep, you’re one of the extreme liberal sheep! I think the rude awakening will be your burden and it’s already sooner than later for you.

  • 42214 December 26, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Ed, if you want to see the face of divisiveness, look in the mirror.

  • jaybird December 26, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Trumpers really showing that master race BS. Obama did it.

  • bikeandfish December 27, 2017 at 12:36 am

    2017 was a rough year by many objective accounts. Two major hurricanes ripped through American soil, leaving many citizens in disease ridden archaic conditions to this day. A lone shooter massacred innocent civilians for a reason we may never know. Fires torched hundreds of thousands of acres in the west leaving hundreds to thousands homeless, often in areas on the verge of housing crises before the flames existed. And thats just a few in the US, which doesn’t account for genocide and war elsewhere.

    But we also saw civility and compassion in those moments. Neighbors grabbing whatever they had to rescue stranded citizens for the days and weeks after the storms him. Millions donated by our country’s people to help in recovery. Brave friends, family and first responders putting themselves in harms way to aid fellow concert goers. Utahans like us donating to local families of those who suddenly and tragically lost loved ones in the massacre. Strangers opening up homes and wallets to those displaced by fire and floods.

    The list goes on. Not to mention the sexual assault victims finally being heard and respected. Reminding us that the idea of chivalry was always a flawed ideal that was never real to the countless women victimized throughout history.

    Best of luck in 2018. Seeing those successes doesnt mean we don’t have a long fight ahead of us but it would be short sighted to ignore the way citizens bypass the tension of an increasingly partisanship.

  • John December 27, 2017 at 7:25 am

    comments and Jailbird must have been told to get jobs. Mommy is not supporting them anymore! Go cry someplace else!…waaah waaah waah!..

  • Jim December 27, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I calmly sip my slightly too-hot hot cocoa. I bit of the proper Fluff, imported from the east coast, is left on my upper lip. It is sweet.

    I recline and comfortably remember 2017, a year of change for me, and for the nation, subsequently a change for our world. I see the distorted view of the snowflakes become ever so less popular. The snow is melting, and the snowflakes are too. There is no safe space here, I am surrounded by reality. And living in reality is a good place to be.

    I shall continue to watch, and as the year becomes anew, I shall wait for spring, where just possibly all of the snowflakes will melt, and we can look forward to another good year. It is sweet.

  • commonsense December 27, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I feel great energy in America after a year of repelling the global socialist agenda which produced the greatest resistance since the Confederacy opposed Lincoln.

    The economy is vibrant with full employment, healthy markets, and record job production.
    Add to that tax reduction for all, illegal immigration slowed, law enforcement supported, military strengthened, trade agreements balanced, POTUS who loves America and a charming FLOTUS.

    MAGA is ahead of schedule.

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