BEN BROMLEY

Pat yourself on the back, America. Unless President Trump accuses Kim Jong Un’s mother of wearing Army boots in the next few days, we will have survived 2017.

Some good things happened this year, but they got lost amid the presidential tweets, sexual harassment scandals and storms. Who knew that when Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf Coast in August, it would be only the second-most dangerous Harvey of the year?

Allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct against Harvey Weinstein, movie mogul and casting couch creep, set off a national wave of accusations that had every man in America nervously wondering whether he’d ever misplayed a hug and brushed something he shouldn’t have. That is, except for the Tweeter in Chief, who delights in grabbing whatever he can, including headlines.

The Trump staffers who weren’t indicted quit. The president unapologetically made waves with China and North Korea. Mounting evidence indicates Russia interfered to get him elected. But Trump dismissed such reports as “fake news” or “covfefe.”

NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, hipsters sporting man buns, gunmen and terrorists targeting innocent people, O.J. Simpson getting parole … it seemed the only time things were looking up was during the total solar eclipse.

There were a few bright moments, though. The Dow hit the 20,000 mark. Unemployment reached historic lows. “Wonder Woman” totally rocked. Scientists proved Einstein was right on relativity, and inventors launched the prototype of a flying car. And chances are anyone reading this won’t face the prospect of drinking the water in Flint, Michigan or any beverage prepared by Bill Cosby. So we have that going for us, which is nice.

There’s good news here in the fourth estate, too. Newspaper subscriptions and television news ratings surged thanks to Trump, as consumers rebelled against the president’s “fake news” and “alternative facts” campaign. They were rewarded when “old media” — newspapers and magazines — outed Weinstein and other powerful letches.

Consumers were reminded that having dogged journalists on the watch is what it takes to topple titans and ensure guys in bathrobes no longer get to call business meetings in their bedrooms. Or win election to the U.S. Senate from Alabama. Are you ready for 2017 to be over? Me, too.

They call what you’re reading right now the first draft of history. I suspect 2017 will go down as a year to forget. It’ll be remembered as a time when airline staff beat up — sorry, “re-accommodated” their passengers, the Internet was sold to the highest bidder (anybody have any bitcoin?) and audiences were subjected to another crappy “Batman” movie.

The tax code got rigged for the rich, wildfires burned California, the Oscars bungled the announcement of the Best Picture winner, and the third-hottest year on record saw an ice sheet the size of Delaware break off Antarctica. This marked the only time Delaware made news in 2017.

All this came on the heels of 2016, when one otherworldly talent after another died, while most of the world’s pathetic hacks tragically continued to live. As we wave goodbye to a cloudy 2017, let’s look for the silver lining: We’re due for a good year. Let’s raise a toast — of New Year’s Eve champagne, not Flint water or Cosby cocktails — to the hope that 2018 is it.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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