A year of extreme contrasts

2018 highlights include both the inspirational and the inexplicable

As we make it to the last month of 2018, all the defining moments begin to stand out. If we can all come to one conclusion, it’s this: 2018 dragged us through such unbelievable situations that jokes about “living in a simulation” feel a little too real.

The year began fresh with the absurd and viral trend of eating Tide Pods. While originally a joke that sprung on Twitter, it began to quickly dominate the social media communities as more of a challenge. Ridiculous as it was, it sparked the strange sense of humor that has consumed the year.

As warmer weather approached, so did the consequences of the country’s current politics. On March 24, March For Our Lives occurred, led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Forida, where a shooting had happened just the month prior. All of this traced back to the somehow ongoing debate about making tighter gun control for the safety of everyone. The relevance of this topic is high on the list for the year, considering the days to mass shootings ratio is almost exact – the 307th shooting in the United States, Thousand Oaks, occurred on the 311th day of the year.

Summer brought even more unfathomable situations. The horrors of children being separated from their parents because of the harsh and unjustifiable immigration policy change brought upon by the Trump administration. To further solidify the inhumane movements brought by political changes this year, an analysis released in early October by the American Civil Liberties Union identified 254 children as still under government custody, separated from their families.

During this tragic time, First Lady Melania Trump made her way to McAllen, TX., to tour a child immigrant holding center. While the action seemed thoughtful at first glance, dressing clad in a $39 jacket that displayed the message “I REALLY DON’T CARE. DO U?”, even if to just get on and off the plane, was beyond disgraceful. Stephanie Grisham, East Wing communications director, told CNN that it was just “a jacket,” and there was “no hidden message”, but like most things this year, it was incredibly difficult to believe. Trump’s clothing choices have always been specifically chosen for the occasion, seems quite unlikely this one was any different.

All the breaking events of 2018 can justify it as possibly the longest and most unreal assortment of days to date.

Political drama was felt by everyone in the country, including those who tend to stray away from making claims on it: celebrities. This year’s midterm election brought encouragement from public figures all across the industries. The United States Elections Project stated that 49.3 percent of eligible voters voted during the elections this fall. This marked the highest turnout since 1914, which had 50.4 percent of participants, and passed the previous record of 48.7 percent in 1966. Although this year showcased heavy moments because of the political climate, a move in a more positive direction, when it comes to the involvement of the country as a whole, has been proven.

The devastations of this year are plentiful – the collapse of the Obama-era protected Net Neutrality, and Brett Kavanaugh getting confirmed into the Supreme Court, to name a few more.  But, here’s the high point of this year: people are angry. And angry people, means a willingness to fight for what they believe is right.

Empowerment has been displayed in many forms this year, despite everything, really. Movies like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” have shinned a light on ethnical diversity and its importance in Hollywood. Representation is something that this year has pushed for and has received. Other companies have also joined in on movements to support people of color in the country. 

In early September, Nike released a campaign with Colin Kaepernick to mark their 30th anniversary of “Just Do It”. The phrase paired with the campaign read “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” a true statement for 2018’s positives.

The year has been full of ups, downs, twists and turns, but it brought change. Positive or negative, it means we’re going somewhere. There’s an endless array of experiences we’ve shared. Traumatic events around the country, the loss of marvelous people like Stephan Hawking, Aretha Franklin, and Stan Lee, moving music releases like Childish Gambino’s “This Is America”, and continued support in movements such as #MeToo are just a few examples of how very different each day has played out. Hopefully, next year everything is able to turn in its best direction.