Interesting week we had. A few hopeful things here and there amid all the drama.
After the last couple of years, it seemed as if good news largely evaporated. Donald Trump is responsible for a list too long to cite everything on here, but he’s not the only culprit. And yet, somehow, despite all the odds, good news started appearing in succession again. From sports to politics to the economy, things finally started feeling optimistic, or at least cathartic.
When it comes to sports, everyone’s focus was on the Super Bowl. Full disclosure: I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. After going much of this season without paying much attention to it, largely in part to the NFL turning Colin Kaepernick into a pariah, I wasn’t gonna give the NFL and the New England Patriots the satisfaction of adding to the Nielsen ratings for that event only to see a team like the Patriots clinch another insufferable win. Now, I wish I had watched it. Reactions to Justin Timberlake’s halftime show aside, merely reading about the shocking win by the Philadelphia Eagles was enough to make the most hardened cynic overjoyed. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick blew the biggest note of modern history when they could’ve retired after the Super Bowl win they vacuumed up last year. Some Eagles players are boycotting the visit to the White House, though some Patriots did that last year as well. While the riots that ensued were disgraceful, at least some people are calling out the reactions to the riots as a double standard. While the NFL still has is in a deep hole for many reasons, including the Kaepernick saga and the ongoing findings from studies on CTE, we can at least look back and think of this Super Bowl as the best thing to happen to almost everyone involved, even the Patriots.
For politics, there are signs that some sunlight is finally peaking through. One of those being that Florida is rectifying its past of not letting convicted felons vote even after they served their sentence. It’s not too much of a stretch to posit that much of the pain and trauma of that draconian environment stems from the 2000 presidential election and Florida’s role in that. However, there’s also a referendum chance to make it easier for many of those felons to vote again. If it falls short of a mass pardoning, the referendum at least serves as a rebuke to those who are hell-bent on making it harder to vote.
On another area of politics, some shocking news came out of Pennsylvania. Not that the maps drawn for the state’s districts were struck down by the state’s Supreme Court; Wisconsin and North Carolina are also tangled in the same kind of legal battles. It’s that the attempt to appeal the ruling was dismissed by Samuel Alito. Yes, Samuel Alito. A man whose shocking opinions in cases like that involving Hobby Lobby have made him a darling for the right-wing for years. Even in 2018, sanity is still winning battles. Of course, the Pennsylvania Republicans are sparing no time to try and keep the gerrymandering in place. However, it’s not because the ruling the by the Court was such an aberration. Rather, it seems to be a last-minute attempt to cement power before they go extinct. It doesn’t look like they’ll win this time.
With the economy, we got the news that has been waiting to be unleashed for a while now. Earlier this month, the Dow Jones went into a spectacular plunge for two days, the second day boasting a drop of four figures. What was hilarious is that apparently, one of the reasons for the tumble is because wages are actually rising. I wish I was joking: when wages rise, the stock market tumbles? Of course, it’d be nice if the wages that rose were those for people in lower positions. Also however, investors were scared of inflation as at least one other factor, even though inflation will never reach the levels they did in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Who knows what the ultimate result will be, but with the Treasury in dire straits and the worst people imaginable in charge, if there’s a fallout it will be spectacular, with the effects reaching across other countries (except for China).
Of course, good news has to coexist with the bad and the odd. But there’s still reason to have hope for the future in areas like solar technology, where not only is one company moving forward despite Trump’s shenanigans, but Saudi Arabia is recognizing the future of solar and getting on board. Having hope and optimism are good things, and we need more of them if we want to survive the next few years. So let’s remember what Andy Grammer said.