2012: How My Faith in Humanity Became Solidified After Being Broken to Pieces

Hallie Witwer
2012 was certainly a year to remember for the world, our country, and I’m sure every individual has his or her own memorable moments from the last 365 days. There were joyous events such as the London Olympics, stressful events like the US Presidential Election, and sorrowful events like the Connecticut school shooting that happened the very day I sat down to write this article. Politics, the economy, religion, and even Mother Nature shook our faith in humanity and in the end, at least for me, strengthened it. Take a trip with me back in time over the last twelve months as we review the good, the bad, and the ugly and end with a little much-needed self-reflection.

I think we should start with some of the tougher memories to look back on, for while they are just as important as the joyous ones, I prefer to leave articles on a positive note. 2012 held a lot of unrest in other parts of our world. Libya continues the fight to find calm within, and in that wake of the struggle, four Americans were killed, including our U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens. The deaths quickly became a topic of political argument in Washington and the rest of our nation, making many wonder if politics could truly turn any tragedy into a heated debate.

Hurricane Sandy battered the east coast at October’s end and left New Jersey, New York City, and many other areas broken and battered. However, our country and the world watched as people stronger than ever emerged from tattered homes ready to lend whatever little they were left with to their neighbors. Just days before the Presidential election, democrats and republicans came together to give any support they could offer. The rebuilding of the hardest hit areas will be slow, but I don’t think there is any doubt that by this time next year the Jersey Shore will be back handing out the best Italian hot dogs in town and the beaches will once again be packed with tanning youngsters.
(Kevin Hagen/Wall Street Journal)
It was Friday, December 14th when I sat down to write this article. I, like many others, had spent the entire previous part of the day watching the constant news coverage of the tragic Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting. I sat in tears watching the death count rise on CNN as facts, and then completely different facts, were reported as the minutes ticked by. In the end, 26 people died, 20 of which were little children. The events of that day still resonate in all of us. Teachers, parents and children all struggle to come to terms with what has happened. Only time will tell just how our nation will heal after a tragedy such as this.

The tail end of 2012 has generated a lot of attention on the dreaded fiscal cliff, which has the American people wondering what’s next for us economically and financially. The fiscal cliff is a result of several things going into, or out of, effect all at once and appears overwhelming and just plain disastrous to most. In the end, the best thing we can do is trust, hope, and pray that our men and women in Washington will act their age, learn to get along, and come up with a solution that is best for the American people as a whole. Believing that this is what will occur is the only way I get my sleep at night.

Now that we’ve covered unrest in the Middle East, a deadly storm, and other nightmarish tragedies, let’s talk about some things that happened this past year that lifted us up!

The 2012 Olympic games took place in London July 27th through August 12th this year and truly grabbed the attention of the world. I’d have to say that besides the epic competition and awe-inducing talent of the actual sports that take place, the best part about having the Olympic games is bringing the world together every fours years, pretty much no matter what. It’s a time to appreciate other countries and an opportunity to rally behind our own for something other than a war. The games this past year brought stars like Ryan Lochte and Gabrielle Douglas into the spotlight as young and old alike across the country watched them rise to the top over the two-week span. It was a summer to remember and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings when Brazil takes its turn at hosting.
(Photo Courtesy of Google Images)
The world did NOT end on December 21st as hype around the world said it might. Just as the government and NASA said, no zombies or asteroids brought our planet to its final days. Television networks showing marathons of movies like Armageddon and 2012 were about the only related events that actually occurred. Though, let’s not forget the countless Internet memes showing up as Facebook statuses. Hey, if the supposed end of the world resulted in nothing but movie marathons and online laughs, I will count that as a positive for 2012.

Many uplifting events occurred as a direct result of some of the tragedies I previously listed in this piece. While it’s important to remember the actual terrible events themselves, I believe that it is just as important to take note of how humanity reacted in the wake of them. For example- the hundreds of men and women that flocked to the New York/New Jersey area to help citizens there recover after the storm, and the homeowner there that let people charge their electrical devices from his outlet for free since he had power. There were the Hells Angels protecting Sandy Hook Elementary funerals from being disrupted by the picketing of Westboro Baptist Church members and the countless images of children in countries across the world lighting candles to show they are thinking of those that were lost. This article is about the good and bad that happened in 2012, but it wasn’t until I was actually writing it that I realized just how much the two categories were connected. Humanity rises up in the face of disaster, and if any year proved that to be true it was certainly this past one.
(Photo Courtesy of Google Images)
In the eyes of many the U.S Presidential election was the biggest event of the year. It definitely took over the media for the majority of the year and everyone was talking about it. In the end, Barack Obama was victorious over Mitt Romney. Whether or not this made you happy, furious, or indifferent no one can try and say that it wasn’t a huge event for 2012. It stressed us out, gave us material to chuckle at, and made us take a closer look at our political beliefs. On the same day that Obama was voted in for four more years a few other major issues were passed at the polls. Gay marriage is now legal in three more states (Maine, Maryland, and Washington) and recreational marijuana use is now legal in Colorado and Washington. Overall November turned out some big results resulting in even bigger reactions. Here’s to democracy everyone!

On the whole, 2012 was a tough year for many. I know that personally I felt downright emotionally exhausted at times. Some weeks I would feel that my faith in humanity was barely hanging on while other times I would see how much good is in most of us and become once again uplifted. Perhaps this is why I set up this article the way I did. I’ve spent the last twelve months going back and forth and back and forth over how I feel about the world; trying desperately to stay positive, asking myself everyday what I can do differently, and fighting frustration over feeling that I’m not doing enough to make the world a better place. As the year has come to its end, though, I’ve found a certain peace with it and with myself. There are far more good people out there than bad and we just need to find a way to put the spotlight on them more often. As for myself, I know that if I just do my best to think of others and not just myself then I’m doing what I need to. And maybe one day, when the time is right, I can do something huge like travel to Africa to save the elephants or go to India and continue Mother Teresa’s work. Until then, all we can ask of ourselves is to love others unconditionally and if we do that than I truly believe that 2013 will turn out to be just the year we all needed.