Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
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Paddy O'Gara

2017 was one long, strange trip

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    President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with members of the U.S. Coast Guard at Trump International Golf Club on Friday in West Palm Beach, Fla.


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Good news: 2017 is over. Done and dusted. History.

For plenty of us, it was not the most satisfactory year in living memory, what with the Brexit shambles, the chaotic prospect of Catalan independence, and Donald Trump’s presidency. 

Still, these events sparked an atmosphere of carnival and dancing in the streets for a remarkable number of people worldwide. It takes all sorts.

While 2017 was a bad year for immigrants, it was a bumper year for gun massacres, and guns in general. The number of firearms in the United States shot up substantially, and there is now at least one gun for every man, woman and child in America. So, if you´re an American and you still don´t have a gun, you might consider making inquiries. Yours is out there somewhere.

President Trump had a good run. Sure, he got into a series of slanging spats with all manner of citizens, including kneeling NFL footballers, “fake news” media, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Boy Scouts of America. 


President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with members of the U.S. Coast Guard at Trump International Golf Club on Friday in West Palm Beach, Fla.


And he still found time to take a few reflexive pokes at “Crooked Hillary,” who is, amazingly, still at large.

But what the hey. After a zany, fun-filled year, Donald is still more or less steering the ship of state, while simultaneously golfing, downing McBurgers and super-sized servings of Fox News, and tweeting like a POTUS possessed.

The image of him shambling into sensitive areas of global diplomacy such as the Middle East, North Korea, or the United Nations is akin to watching a Barbary Ape that has somehow got his hands on a priceless Ming Dynasty vase. 

We watch in fascinated horror as he turns it over, frowning and grunting. All we can do is to stand by, dustpan and broom at the ready, and await the inevitable.

Pope Francis, likewise, made headlines in 2017. He is surely the most popular man in the world today, beloved of just about everyone, except, ironically, Catholic fundamentalists. There’s just no pleasing some people.

It was not a good year for Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood mogul who, we learned, used his position for decades to blackmail and manipulate women into sleeping with him. The extremely delicate topic of workplace sexual harassment suddenly became openly discussed — and questions asked — where do we draw the line?

My personal expectations for 2018 are somewhat lower than President Trump’s forehead, although we have just taken on Judy, an amiable 80-pound mongrel brute who spent the past year living in a ditch. She needs considerable care to make her feel comfortable and wanted, but that’s all to the good. She will help keep my mind off Brexit, Mr. Trump, and the Catalans.

So, despite the nattering negativity above, a Happy New Year to all.

Patrick O'Gara, a former Blade editor, was a journalist all his working life. He now lives in Northern Spain with five dogs, two cats and eight hens, and a tolerant American wife. Contact him at:

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