Our mothers taught us you only get one chance to make a first impression, but when it comes to the impression an old year leaves, 2012 may be remembered for its last.
If you consider the tail end of the year as that last impression, a collective “Good riddance” could be uttered to 2012.
Any good news of the previous year became instantaneously overshadowed by the sadness inflicted upon Newtown, Conn., and the rest of the country, as the unimaginable happened.
Twenty first-graders and six of their beloved educators were gunned down in an elementary school on the brink of Christmas break. How could we possibly celebrate the childlike joy of the holidays when a town buries its youngest celebrants?
Many years will pass before the mere thought of Dec. 14, 2012, doesn’t stop the heart in mid-beep.
The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School capped off a string of mass shootings experienced in 2012, including the summer massacre in an Aurora, Colo., theater, as Batman enthusiasts settled in for a midnight premiere. Each shooting seemed to eclipse the last.
Another Sandy brought heartache upon millions, as one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent history wiped out the shorelines in New York and New Jersey and slammed the region with $71 billion in damages. Families and businesses continue to pick up the pieces, hoping 2013 is more forgiving.
And in the waning hours of 2012, we witness the utter dysfunction of government, as our leaders go to the brink of fiscal failure, seemingly refusing to put country before politics. As we gather for champagne and black-eyed peas, there is hope for a “fiscal cliff” deal, but shame on all of them for taking us to the limit. This should have been solved months ago.
The events of the past few months would have us tossing 2012 in a heap of disappointments, if we merely reflect on the end.
Our mothers also taught us to look for the silver lining in even the darkest clouds.
The year 2012 did give us reasons to celebrate.
Unemployment dipped below 8 percent, giving us hope for a rebound.
Science triumphed when the Mars rover Curiosity sent back photos from a foreign and mysterious planet.
A young Pakistani girl who refused to be a second-class citizen survived a violent attempt to silence her.
The world put aside its differences during a vibrant and peaceful fortnight of athletic competition at the London Olympics.
The November election displayed the bloodless transfer of power that is democracy — even though we felt rather bruised and battered by the process.
There was good news in 2012, but we’re hard-pressed to recall many more instances. The wonder of a New Year is its potential, the promise that things will get better.
After 2012, we can only hope for a happier year.
This commentary was written by the Scripps Howard News Service.