It’s almost that time of year again, where we realize we don’t know where the year went!
There were a lot of “cringe-worthy” moments, mostly courtesy of the Twitter account of our reality-television President. There was also our introduction to ‘BBQ Becky’, ‘Permit Patty’, and ‘Pool Patrol Paula’. Let’s not get started on the crazy Tide Pod challenge. But rather than going down a rabbit hole of unfortunates, let’s lighten the mood by recalling 10 awesome moments in 2018 that give us reason to look forward to 2019. Here are 10 things that give us hope for the next year:
Diversity in Congress at Last
Trump’s supposed enemies (Democrats) are now in a position to hold him and his wayward administration accountable by taking control of the House. This year’s midterms were truly a night of firsts, as LGBT candidates, Native Americans, African-Americans, and Muslims made history by being voted into office, and are already shaking up the House with their innovative, revolutionary ideas.
The Rescue of 12 Thai Boys and Their Coach
Faith in humanity was restored when a group of boys from the Wild Boars soccer team in Thailand, trapped in a cave for 10 days with no food, were saved by the support of an entire community of more than 3,000 rescuers from all over the world. One of the rescuers was a former Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, who died during an over-night operation while trying to deliver oxygen tanks to the trapped teens and their coach. In honor of Kunan’s contributions, the boys and their coach paid tribute by having their heads shaved in a traditional Buddhist ceremony, promising Kunan to be “good guys”.
Protection of Net Neutrality
As if the government doesn’t have enough reign over our lives, this year there was concern that the government would regulate freedom to internet access, even going the extra mile to sue California ( the state with the most tech innovators). Reluctantly, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) repealed changes to net neutrality rules, which requires internet service providers to offer equal access to all content offered online. Net neutrality evolves innovation, and the government should not have such a heavy hand in regulating speed lanes or access to certain information on the internet, which was created for the people. However we are not completely out of the water and the government can repeal again.
Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Campaign
Nike grossed $6 billion after releasing their inspirational ad about resilience with Colin Kaepernick. Although controversy was omnipresent when another ridiculous hashtag to boycott Nike was summoned when some customers were furious about Nike’s decision to sponsor Kaepernick, and were burning their Nike apparel in protest. According to Nike, despite the calls for boycott, this was one of their most successful ads and many received the true message behind the ad, justifying Kaepernick’s decision to kneel for the national anthem. Nike cultivated an entire generation of consumers who are facing one of the biggest moments of intersection between culture, politics, and activism, and are subconsciously shaping the fate of this country for years to come.
The Government of Ireland Voicing Support for BDS
Ireland took a drastic step in standing up for the oppressed Palestinians as their senate, the Seanad, voted for the ban of Israeli-produced products entering Ireland. The legislation will now need to get through more Seanad votes, and then the lower house before becoming a law. This marks the first EU nation to go against Israel and enforce a boycott in support of the Palestinians.
Black Panther Sparks a Movement
This blockbuster hit was a massive cultural success, grossing more than $631 million worldwide. To many, the success of Black Panther was also a testimony to the success of having minorities in bigger roles off and on-screen in pop culture. Who knew? The success also paved way for many other minorities accelerating in the industry, and 2019 already looks to be adding more diversity in movies, shows, and behind the scenes, as more minorities are marching into the industry.
Breakthroughs in Medicine
2018 was a year of magnificent medical breakthroughs! With a new antioxidant found to reduce blood vessel aging, scientists may have found the fountain of youth. Also, a change of a protein associated with Alzheimer’s can reverse the damage to the affected brain cells, increasing the chances of finding a cure. Here’s another doozy: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center successfully treated mice with engineered human cells. What does this mean? One day, with the use of engineered human tissue, researchers may possibly develop the ability to transplant organs using a host’s own regenerated tissue.
Bridging Socio-Economic Gaps
The International Energy Agency announced that nearly 1.2 billion people around the world have gained access to electricity in the last 16 years. One non-profit who is an influential ally for the world’s poor, The Borgen Project, successfully passed the Global Health Innovation Act through senate this year, which holds the United States Agency for International Development accountable, by asking to submit an annual report to Congress on the strides taken to find solutions for health and technology solutions. It also recently passed the Digital Gap Act (GAP), which promotes first-time Internet access to mobile or broadband internet for at least 1.5 billion people in developing countries by 2020. Go on their website to support them in ending world poverty.
Saudi Arabia Lifts Driving Ban on Women
A royal order was implemented on June 24th, granting women in Saudi Arabia the right to drive, and travel without male permission. Women all over Saudi Arabia hailed the decision with unbridled joy over King Salman’s decree. Access to education, travel, and the right to drive is no longer limited to men, and as a result, a women’s potential is no longer controlled in a world driven by men. This gives a light of hope for the future of this nation and many more to follow in their footsteps.
The Senate Voting to End U.S. Involvement in the Yemeni War.
Coincidence? I think not. This proves what diversity in positions of power can yield on the well being of humanity. In November, the 63-37 vote came to an overwhelming halt on U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war. Although this is a baby-step to ending U.S. involvement in the war known as the worst humanitarian crisis in recent years, it not only gives hope for 2019, but the latter years as well, encouraging nations to come together rather than tearing each other apart.
Edited by Manal Moazzam.