2018 could become the solution to problematic 2017

Saadia Akhtar

2017 was a memorable and problematic year.

Kentucky had quite a few of its own newsworthy events, from basketball scandals to controversial politicians. 

One of the biggest– and maybe for some Kentucky fans, the happiest– events was Louisville men’s basketball coach, Rick Pitino, getting fired for allegations of corruption and bribery amid an FBI probe within the program. This brought up many questions about the treatment of student athletes and whether they should be paid, and if so, what amount. This is not a problem exclusive to Louisville– it is a nationwide problem that needs to be addressed this year.

Kentucky’s own Rand Paul suggested that players could take on endorsements from companies and then get paid after they leave college, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Getting paid once you are retired, though, is another ball game.

Another problem that hits Kentuckians especially close to home is the pension crisis. Gov. Matt Bevin has not proposed any popular solutions to the deficit that is ravaging the state’s pension funds. He has Republican control of the state legislature and wants a political victory, but at what cost? Will he throw thousands of Kentuckians under the bus to achieve a few pats on the back from conservatives? Bevin wants to tackle the crisis in early 2018, but we will see how that goes.

State employees pay into their pension funds, so for the Kentucky government to take from those funds in order to offset the deficit is both unfair and a huge insult to state workers. A better idea would be find another source of revenue, such as medical marijuana legalization, which some state leaders, including our Secretary of State Alison Grimes, is currently pushing, according to the Herald-Leader. States like Colorado and Washington, who have legalized recreational marijuana and have made millions of dollars from the taxes imposed on it.

In recent news, former Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover resigned from his leadership position after a sexual harassment scandal late last year. However, Hoover has vowed revenge toward those who contributed to his fall. This news follows suit with the nationwide #MeToo movement, where many women and men are coming out with their own stories of sexual abuse and harassment, to show how widespread of a problem it is. However, with Hoover’s desire to avenge himself, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on both reducing cases of sexual harassment and eliminating victim blaming.

What I have the most hope for in the coming year is for intolerance of sexual harassment to grow. The #MeToo movement has already done so much to take down powerful men whose abuses were hidden or ignored. 2018 will prove to be an even more powerful year in the taking down of predators who have used their power and influence to hurt those below them. However, the movement should not just be restricted to Hollywood. All need to be called out so justice can be served to victims. 

I hope that 2018 provides more solutions to the past year’s problems and does not add on any more.  

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