Editorial: The 2017 Blues

I have to admit something. I haven’t really in the best of spirits lately. Don’t worry, it’s not anything wrong with my personal life or anything going on in the University. That’s all going fine. No, the thing bothering me is that right now, the world really sucks. I mean really. I’m just not excited or optimistic about the state of things right now, which is a terrible feeling to have when you’re graduating college next semester and expected to make your way through this mess.

I actually thought that this semester would be my last and that it’d be a new editor writing this editorial chronicling the end of the year, but things changed. There are definitely some people in mind for the position, but they aren’t ready, at least not yet. You still get one more semester of me.

Now, back to the state of things. I wrote last year about the end of 2016 and how we needed to come together and make 2017 a year of understanding and work to make the world a better place. A year later, I can say that idea really didn’t pan out. People are just as divided as ever, and things still seem to be falling apart. I’m even starting to worry about the future, given that I’m almost thirty and soon I’ll want to start a family of my own. I don’t want to be a complete downer, in fact I’m writing this so that I can sort all of this out and maybe even come out with a positive message.

I’ve honestly tried to side-step a lot of the issues plaguing this year, making a conscious decision not to write about the controversies. I felt that I wrote too much about the 2016 election and that all of these columns had started to stick to one beat. Thus, I wrote about eating burgers with student government, movie theater protests of Wonder Woman, and how a show on Adult Swim caused riots over plum sauce. I wanted the columns to be fun and provide some levity in a crumbling world. Yet as the year wore on, things started seeming less and less fun. In fact, on two occasions this year, I wrote editorials that were so angry about an issue that I ultimately didn’t publish them. One month was substituted with a different column, while another month didn’t have an editorial at all. Sometimes, I just get at my limit with an issue, but the thoughts just don’t translate well to the written page. Or I risk getting someone upset when they’re outraged about something that I just find completely silly and not worth being upset about. Both have happened this year.

When I say the world sucks, I’m not talking about Donald Trump still being President, or the FCC voting to toss out a bill that’s only existed for two years. In fact, I don’t think I even mean the world when I really think about it. I think I’m just frustrated with the people in it. A vast majority of people seem to come in two flavors lately; they’re either assholes or they’re chronically upset about things. When I give these descriptions, I am by no means making light of real problems happening right now:

A number of hard-working young people under DACA have had opportunities taken away from them. That’s definitely something to be outraged about, especially since many of them are our fellow students.

A wave of sexual misconduct revelations in Hollywood and the media have revealed the disgusting and horrible truths of some once beloved people, such as Kevin Spacey and Matt Lauer. We should be upset. It’s disgusting!

White Nationalists marched in Charlottesville, and seem to be cropping up in other parts of the country. More on that later.

The worst mass-shooting happened in Las Vegas this year and there still hasn’t been much progress in stopping gun violence. It’s as upsetting as it is frustrating.

Finally, pop star Taylor Swift, on her birthday, thanked her fans and stated that she couldn’t have asked for a better year. THAT is NOT worth being upset about!

Angry Taylor
And yet….

Yet on my social media feeds, we have people that are upset, asking how Taylor could DARE be happy right now, with all of the above mentioned things happening in this world. Then there’s a response, from the assholes, intensifying things by writing articles about how ridiculous it is for “Leftists” and “the twitter outrage machine” to be upset about Taylor being happy. Issues like this often have the assholes resort to name-calling. The term “snowflake” is often used by this group.

Leftists Angry
I can’t believe I’m getting angry about these guys getting angry about those guys getting angry. Now I’m even angrier!

Actually, thinking about it, “asshole” and “chronically upset” seem to fall under that category too….

*stares at wall for awhile*

Well, the point is that issues like this are often ridiculous and annoying and ultimately, can’t a girl just be happy on her damn birthday? I almost want to take down that article we did about her because I’m starting to feel bad for her now.

While arguments continue about such buzz-worthy topics as Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations vs Michelle Obama’s Christmas decorations or whether or not it’s okay to feel sympathy for a kid being bullied if his mom is a racist, it’s the real problems that are shockingly close to home that have me worried about the future.

My family includes five children: three “cousin-in-laws” and a niece and a nephew, with another nephew on the way. I worry about the world we’re leaving them. The same day as the shooting in Aztec, NM, we quizzed my eleven-year-old niece on what to do in case of a school shooting. It made me think of how messed up it was that things had come to this. An eleven-year-old girl shouldn’t have to worry about some freak with a gun shooting her while she’s at school.

I’ve also noted at least two children afraid to sit on Santa’s lap. I might be making more of this than I should, but this made me think of how parents and teachers need to police their children these days. Sex offenders and child predators seem to be everywhere, some of them are even parents and teachers themselves. One of them was almost a United States Senator! It makes sense for kids to not want to sit on some guy’s lap after so many stranger danger discussions and warnings.

I even stopped to use a public restroom a few weeks back and saw that someone had carved an offer to “get rid of any (racial slur for Mexican-Americans) giving you trouble” on a bathroom wall. This carving was accompanied by a phone number and a swastika. Wonderful thing to see, right? As someone who is with a Mexican-American woman and could even have Mexican-American children someday, this really bothered me. In the past few years, racism and hatred toward people from Mexico has grown. I don’t even know if the place in question did anything about the graffiti or the phone number, or even if they could. Are there Neo-Nazis in Southern New Mexico, or was someone just trying and failing to be funny? Isn’t it a little disturbing that either could be plausible in our country right now?

All of this is making it really hard to feel good about the state of the world right now. I wish I’d come to some sort of positive conclusion about all of this and could reassure both myself and the readers that everything will get better, but will it? Could it? I don’t have an answer.

It did feel really good to get all of that out though! If you managed to get through all of that with me, thank you so much for reading. I do hope that our wonderful students, staff and faculty at Western New Mexico University have an incredible Holiday Season, whether you’re observing Christmas, Hanukkah, Parranda, Hmong New Year or one of the other many holidays celebrated in December.  Regardless of how blue I might be feeling right now, you have given us an incredible year and we at The Mustang really do appreciate you.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

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