As an American, 2017 has been a banner year for dystopian news cycles.
After years of outrage that sprung from Occupy: Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the #metoo movement, we end up with the very caricature of racist, sexist opulence in the White House.
All the outrage against wealth inequality got us what might be the first tax bill directly targeting the middle class.
The anger against racial inequality got us a president who promises to deport millions of immigrants and gives overt racists the courage to walk around in broad daylight.
The festering, fuming rage against sexual violence has gotten us a president who not only defends sexual predators: he is one.
And no matter what time of day you turn on the news, you're sure to find some fresh new hell that somehow tops yesterdays hell. A dumpster fire that burns brighter and higher than yesterday's dumpster fire.
And yet: I don't despair.
I look at my community, and though separated by voting habits and ideologies, there is peace here.
My neighbor Doug, with the "Lock her up!" profile picture (yes, still) has a box of old classic rock records he's going to dig up to let me go through.
Ed, an older man at my church with whom I had sharp disagreements through the election, is still enthusiastic to greet me—even after I've denounced homophobia, racism, and sexism from the pulpit.
I think of my home, a blue city in a deep red state that is somehow not rent asunder in a civil war.
And despite the chaos in Washington, I am at peace. I know that this is not normal. I know that the overwhelming majority of my fellow Americans know that this is not normal. And they don't want it to continue.
And frankly, I have hope because apart from the terrors coming across the news channel, this has been a great year for me.
My band released our first vinyl LP. My wife recently expanded her shop to the next storefront over, nearly doubling her space. And after five years of trying to make it as a freelancer...I've finally sorta done it?
Because despite the chess pieces that move across the huge board above us, life is not about our leaders or even our policy. Those things matter a little bit, but what ultimately matters is the life I am able to build with my family and friends.
And it is a good life.