2016 roundup

2016 has been a most­ly good year in my life, but it’s been a dif­fi­cult one in our nation and our world. Memes abound anthro­po­mor­phiz­ing 2016, and it seems like most peo­ple will be glad to see the year end. Whether 2017 will be any bet­ter, whether the world will even make it to 2018 is uncer­tain, but peo­ple hold out hope that next year has to be bet­ter than this one.

In my per­son­al life, I got my first non-law-relat­ed, work-for-some­one-else job doing soft­ware test­ing. I think I’ve learned a lot, and I’m enjoy­ing the work and the col­le­gial­i­ty. I start­ed doing vol­un­teer work with a high school robot­ics team and a refugee reset­tle­ment orga­ni­za­tion. I became more involved at church, to the point of tak­ing a lead­er­ship role in our ear­ly Sun­day ser­vice. I got a diag­no­sis for my men­tal health issues that final­ly fits. I’m find­ing time to do things that I enjoy. It’s been a lit­tle rough try­ing to find “our peo­ple” here, and the search for friends makes me feel like I’m 5… or 11… ugh. So the year was most­ly good. We saw friends and fam­i­ly, explored Utah, and spent lots of time just being us. But per­son­al life aside…

2016 has been rough for our glob­al soci­ety. Aside from all the cul­tur­al icons, musi­cians, and celebri­ties who have died, the year brought divi­sion and destruc­tion, embold­en­ing xeno­pho­bia and dimin­ish­ing hope. I look at the trail we left behind in 2016, splat­tered with Syr­i­an blood, refugee tears, and polit­i­cal mud­sling­ing, and I fear for the future. I fear that the hatred we spewed in 2016 is only the begin­ning, that the trail we carve through 2017 will be just as bloody, wet, and mud­dy as the one we left behind us. I wish I had a way to make this bet­ter, that I had words of hope to speak, that I knew how things would turn out, but I’m still feel­ing hope­less and gut­ted.

I do admire the peo­ple who have stepped up to cre­ate plans of action for resist­ing Trump. One exam­ple is the Indi­vis­i­ble Guide. It takes the aspects of the Tea Par­ty that were very effec­tive, action at the local lev­el, and dis­cuss­es how to exe­cute them in oppo­si­tion to Trump’s agen­da. I have to believe that we can halt or at least stall the worst of his plans.

The prob­lems we’re fac­ing as a world — the refugee cri­sis and the rise of xeno­pho­bia — seem too big and com­pli­cat­ed to man­age. I have a heart for refugees but under­stand the need to keep com­mu­ni­ties safe. The Aus­tralian atti­tude towards refugees is cru­el, even mali­cious, but I fear Europe is head­ed in that direc­tion. As for the sit­u­a­tion in the States, we need to stop shout­ing into echo cham­bers and make sure our voic­es are heard by our mem­bers of Con­gress. We need to vol­un­teer with and donate to orga­ni­za­tions that reset­tle refugees and that advo­cate for their inclu­sion and their rights. Luther­an Immi­gra­tion and Refugee Ser­vice and Catholic Char­i­ties are great orga­ni­za­tions that I’ve worked with before.

Some good came out of the year, but it seems to be most­ly over­shad­owed by the bad. Here’s hop­ing 2017 brings most­ly good things.