December makes you feel nostalgic. You’re surrounded by friends and loved ones, stuffing your face with food every day from the first day of the month until the last, with Christmas parties left and right. You give and receive gifts, and you feel appreciated. You reminisce about the past twelve months with joy, sadness, regret and a renewed spirit to make the next year a better one. Then, you face the reality that things happened and that you’ll have to live with it, one way or another, either temporarily or permanently.
Take for example the world of politics. Politics has always been a world of hits and misses, and this year was a year of many misses. Two men were elected as Presidents of their countries, and not a lot of people are happy about it. Pundits have said that the greatest factor in today’s electoral processes are the quality of voters, since generally, they all rely on social media to tell them who to vote for. This generation of voters turn to the internet, regardless of whether there is verity to what they read or not. Wikipedia seems credible anyway, and the news on The Onion is very accurate, after all. Plus, you get two men who are angry about something, make the voters feel that they are angry about it, too, and use this rage to their advantage to get votes. That’s what happens in the movies to get even and to get things done, right? Silence all opposition, kill the infidels, build a wall, proclaim absolute tyranny as if it were a democratic and judicial process, and then pretend nothing happened. Unfortunately, this is the reality that today’s voters feel give some form of verisimilitude, when life imitates art. After all, if the idiot box in their hands cannot explain things, nothing, not even law or logic, ever will.
On the other hand, there were two women presidents who were impeached by their parliaments, both on accusations of corruption. Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Park Geun-Hye of South Korea were removed from office after impeachment proceedings led by each of their law-making bodies. Both were impeached by their houses with a majority of male lawmakers. Both were women, the first of the female gender to take the top office in two countries known to have a culture of machismo. Even in the 21st century, some things never change.
While people fought for their lives, such as a young boy with a rare blood disease, or refugees coming from war-torn Aleppo, laws on physician-assisted suicide, legalization of pot and same-sex marriage, as well as overdoses from opioids – all contributing to the culture of death – took the spotlight and dimmed the lights on those issues that truly matter. On the other hand, communities came together and welcomed refugees in their towns and cities, offered them hospitality, and gave them hope. In Ohio, lawmakers passed a bill called the foetal heartbeat bill, that would consider abortion once a heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy, as a felony. There is hope for humanity yet.
In BC, homes were flipped, and real estate prices soared to ridiculous heights as bid wars took homeownership from Canadian citizens and served on a silver platter to foreign buyers. The result was a penalty on unscrupulous real estate agents, a 15% tax on foreign buyers, and a BC government initiative offering financial assistance to first time homebuyers, to soften the blow on an otherwise overlooked autonomous and unmonitored real estate circle. PM Trudeau faced a number of hits, including a scuffle in parliament, and an unpopular move approving a controversial pipeline. Fort McMurray experienced enormous forest fires in the summer, with thousands of residents, including Filipino temporary workers picking up the pieces and trying to recover from their losses.
Just like in the animated movie Inside Out, there is a time to Panic and get Angry when all seems to be hopeless, and then feel Disgust over all the darkness that appears to rule over our lives. Sadness and Joy, however, show us that there is an upside to a downside, and we need to realize that we will get out of each situation unscathed somehow, despite what other people, and circumstances, bring into our lives. This is because we have Hope – the only real thing that December and the Christmas season brings.
By: Rossette Correa