The Year 2015 in Review: Star Wars Style

The Year 2015 in Review: Star Wars Style

Lauren PesinThursday,31 December 2015

In honor of the historic release and success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode 7) and the year coming to an end, I felt it timely to review 2015 in terms of the Dark Side and the Light Side, to see where the year falls.

For you non-Star Wars types, the Dark Side is all about embracing acquisition of power with all of the malevolence, violence, prejudice, ignorance, intolerance, and the domination of people, places, and things (at all costs) that accompanies it; whereas, the Light Side refers to general goodness, kindness and compassion, equality, tolerance, selflessness, and overall desire to positively impact humanity or the environment.

Judging  by images of mass shootings, racial injustice, acts of terrorism, violence, and general stupidity of politicians pushing hatred and ignorance (I’m talking to you GOP candidates), the answer to where 2015 resides may appear to be “the Dark Side”.

So let’s start there…

The Dark Side tips the scales in the form of violence (mass shootings),  ignorance, and hate (via speech and crime).

As of December 27th, mass shootings (gun violence involving multiple victims) were tallied at 372 in the U.S. In addition, there was a bombing at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Colorado Office and multiple incidents of racially-driven injustice, including myriad instances of police brutality.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson continue to push hateful rhetoric through unfounded claims and moronic accusations leveled at — just to name a few — immigrants, Planned Parenthood staff, and civil-minded protesters. Republican candidates add fuel to the fire of hate and promote the Dark Side in the U.S.  Trump tops it all off with his ludicrous proposal to ban Muslim immigrants (and visitors) from the U.S.

In general, hate crimes in the United States appear to be decreasing (yeah Light Side), but not against Muslims (point Dark Side). The hate crimes of 2015 include arson, bombings, vandalism of mosques and churches, and assaults on Muslims, homosexuals, Christians, African-Americans, Planned Parenthood staff, immigrants, police, and protesters.

Then, we have…the Light Side

Scientific findings, such as NASA finding liquid water on Mars and also discoveries made on Pluto, provide insight and prove Americans are still willing to explore and learn about the universe.

On June 26, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage a federal right. Point for equality and tolerance.

As a result of grassroots activism (and logic…gasp), the Keystone pipeline project died. Huzzah environment (point Light Side).

I was surprised to discover so many stories of human kindness, counting the following headline examples: Anonymous Donor Pays One Year’s Rent In New Apartment For Homeless Family; 250 People Pay It Forward At A Florida McDonald’s Drive-Thru; Secret Santa’s Pay Off Nearly $500K On Layaway Items at Walmart Stores.

The Light Side also has warrior-monks known as philanthropists on their side. Philanthropists abound in the U.S. having given literally billions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours to support causes ranging from public education and vaccination awareness to ending world conflict. These givers have promoted the arts, scientific and medical research, and the fights to end cancer and Alzheimer’s. One such giver, who avoids his picture being taken, gave a $650 million donation for psychiatric research, in hopes of finding and treating causes of mental illness.

As you can see, both sides of the “force” continue to battle throughout 2015. This is merely a glimpse of the opposing sides.

In 2015, was it the nefarious machinations of the Dark or the balance and wisdom of the Light side that held sway in the U.S.?

What of 2016?

Search your feelings…


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Image Credit: Ed’s Toy Box on Flickr

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