EDITORIAL: 2017 — It wasn’t all bad

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Goodbye to 2017, and good riddance.

For most of us, the last 12 months have been pretty rough.

We lost Tom Petty. We witnessed the rise of the neo-Nazi. And it was the year that we finally gave up on doing anything in this country about mass shootings — the last one, a massacre at a Texas church that took 26 lives in November, barely made a blip on the national radar.

It was a white guy, in case you missed it, with a history of domestic violence and a gun he bought in a store.

At the heart of the worst of it — besides Petty, though you never know — is our new president, who has in just 12 short months managed to besmirch the very name of a nation that was once admired the world over.

It’s tempting to tease out the worst moments of the year and string them together like horrible pearls here at the end-of-the-year editorial, extrapolate some dire themes from the grisly narrative and work to convince everybody that, yes, everything is indeed going to hell all around us.

But that’s no way to live, and it’s certainly not going to do any good as the calendar turns.

And hey: It wasn’t all bad.

In Alabama, the biggest scumbag on the ticket actually lost his election. Sexual predators are being outed all over the place. And in North Carolina, it looks like our illegal districts are — maybe — getting sorted out.

Here in the cities of the Triad, we enjoyed the illusion of insulation from our national disgrace: Lots of construction upgrades in our center cities, notably the work on Roy Carroll’s project in Greensboro and the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. High Point is getting a ballpark. We’re realizing major capital investments in our cities the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter broke ground. Not everyone agrees with the way this money is being spent, but the dollars themselves have no ideology.

In Forsyth and Guilford counties, where Trump lost by 10 and 20 points respectively, the resistance has been anything but futile. Protest has become pop culture in Winston-Salem, sort of a running theme in many of the year’s artistic highlights like RiverRun and the National Black Theatre Festival. In Greensboro, protest groups fielded candidates in the city council election, who managed to re-frame the conversation and, in a couple cases, actually got elected. The new council itself is historic: Eight women, three of color, and a black man — no white men on board, a harbinger on the status of the patriarchy.

It’s not much in the face of Trump. But if 2017 has a theme it is this: We will go on. Damn the torpedoes.

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