Are we great yet?

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Written by Dylan Doyle, contributing writer

December is upon us yet again, and as the holiday season begins and the end of the year looms ever closer, our culture finds itself in desperate need of reflection.

Like you, I am haunted by unwanted remembrances of November of yesteryear, when an unfortunate number of Americans chose an incompetent, corrupt narcissist as the next leader of the free world. It has been an entire year, dear readers.

Is America great again?

Las Vegas is not great. Sutherland Springs, Texas is certainly not great. A year and a half later, Orlando, Florida remains un-great.

A great country does not entertain the notion that almost 400 mass shootings in one year is normal. According to the Gun Violence Archive, more than 14,000 people died in America from gun violence just this year, and the party in power continues to sit on its hands in submission to the National Rifle Association and its corporate gun lobby. Conservatism serves capitalism at the expense of human lives, and former President Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill looks more like a warzone.

Is this greatness?

It is readily apparent that our government is not great. The American people elected President Donald Trump to lead this nation for four years, and one-fourth of that time is up. Experts say as many as 600 jobs requiring Senate confirmation remain vacant. Trump himself is historically unpopular and apparently determined to provoke a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, the repercussions of which he does not fully understand.

His entire sphere is under investigation by several federal organizations. His party’s dark obsession with tax cuts for the wealthy is alienating the poor, disaffected base of voters who elected him in the first place. For the first time in 20 years, America has to face the possibility that its president might be removed from office.

Alabama conservatives find themselves serving as pedophilia apologists for the likes of Roy Moore, because apparently assaulting children is a lesser sin than voting for a Democrat. Sean Hannity’s sycophantic viewers are breaking their own coffee machines to discredit a story from The Washington Post with 30 separate sources.

I ask again: is this greatness?

Even pop culture is not immune. Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis C.K. – the list of Hollywood abusers, creeps and child abusers keeps growing longer. Victims are speaking out and these men are finally facing consequences, but this is not a time for celebration. It’s a time to be sick and do lots of soul-searching. The festering rot on which our entertainment industry is built must be brought down.

Steps have already been taken, of course. But firing Spacey from “House of Cards” is a moot point when a sexual predator lives in the White House. Remember when the Access Hollywood tape story broke and America listened to its future president brag about sexually assaulting women? If such a deplorable person can become president, why can’t Roy Moore become a senator? How do we find the line in the sand when Trump’s tidal wave has erased the entire beach?

The progressive efforts in states like Virginia are cause for celebration, but there is still much work ahead. In the cold gray of year’s end, we need to reflect on the state of our union and its ideals. We must reject the definition of greatness thrust upon us by the worst among us.

Most importantly, starting in 2018, we must actually make America great again.