Editorial: 2018 ends as it began |

Editorial: 2018 ends as it began

Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers walks with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump outside of Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill on Oct. 30, 2018. President Trump paid Pittsburgh a visit following the mass shooting at a Squirrel Hill synagogue.

And so we say goodbye to 2018.

It was a year that may have, even more than 2016, illustrated the fierce armed camps that now exist in American life. Has there ever been a time that we were more likely to draw such sharp lines between us without engaging in a four-year Civil War?

In 2018, the federal government closed three times.

In 2018, there seemed to be an almost daily mortality report on who the latest casualties in the #MeToo war were.

In 2018, “The Apprentice” became President Trump’s second most successful reality show, while the ongoing saga of the special counsel investigation and the revolving door of administration official appointments and resignations kept cable news organizations and pundits on both sides in business.

The midterm elections became a pitched battle where the biggest issue was the man whose name wasn’t on the ballot.

The resignation of a Supreme Court justice turned into the nomination of a replacement that became a circus of protest, allegation and entrenchment that was, to borrow a phrase from the president, “like no one has ever seen.”

The U.S. relationships with the world became an upturned Etch-a-Sketch, written and shaken and erased as we saw summits with North Korea and Russia and tensions with NATO allies. Supporters championed the moves. Detractors warned of dire outcomes.

The same happened with everything from natural disasters to crime, putting left and right constantly at odds even when they might normally have been drawn together over an issue.

When Pittsburgh became the focus of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, there was a collective holding of breath in the prayerful reverie that followed. That ended when Trump went to a campaign rally the same day, drawing criticism, and then again when he defied Mayor Bill Peduto’s request to wait on a visit to the stretched-tight city still dealing with 11 funerals and two gunshot-wounded police officers.

If there was a theme for 2018, it was opposition. If there was a motto, for either side, it was “Us or them.”

And so 2018 ends as it began, amid hostility and partisanship, with a shutdown and an investigation and both sides angling to come out on top.

Let’s hope that — somehow — 2019 can find a new sense of unity.

2018 is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact at .

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