A Grain Of Saul: 100 Feel-Good News Stories From Donald Trump's First 100 Days In Office

You missed a lot of positive news in the last 100 days.

A Grain of Saul is a weekly column that digs into some of the biggest issues we face as a nation and as an international community in search of reliable data, realistic solutions, and — most importantly — hope.  

Political pundits and partisan hardliners are debating the successes and failures of President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office.

During this debate, the Trump administration is boasting and exaggerating its accomplishments while critics attack the new White House on health care, executive orders, immigration, and intervention abroad. And, as usual, the most uplifting and amazing news stories of the last 100 days will be buried in salacious headlines.

Fortunately, for the last 100 days, I've been covering those stories alongside a talented team of reporters dedicated to shining a light on overlooked potential and progress. Here is an uplifting story for each day of Trump's presidency:

In India, the government and volunteer health workers executed another successful polio immunization campaign. They've now been polio-free for six years. And, for people who are still suffering from polio, there is a doctor in Delhi who will treat them for free. Their success is a nice roadmap for America to overcome the anti-vaxxer movement. For now, we'll have to rely on new laws, such as the one passed in California that no longer allows parents to send their kids to school unvaccinated on the basis of "personal beliefs."

New technology became accessible that lets you explore your ancestry through your DNA. A new social media company made giving to charity as easy as writing a hashtag. Southern Miss students, coaches, and athletes helped clean up homes after a tornado devastated parts of Mississippi. In Manchester, England, a massive plan is underway to plant 3 million new trees, and in the process, organizers have highlighted how good trees are for people.

When President Trump tried to hastily push through an immigration ban that included religious discrimination, a bipartisan group of politicians, lawmakers, and citizens pushed back. Muslims and Latinos on Twitter united behind #NoBanNoWall. Leaked government documents from the Department of Homeland Security showed immigrants from the banned nations were not a threat. A restaurant owner put a message of tolerance on his receipts, and Super Bowl advertisements went to bat for immigrants. An undocumented immigrant proved she — like millions of undocumented immigrants — paid taxes

James Corden reminded us we should all be able to fly without trouble, Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter urged liberals to have respectful opposition to Trump, and one couple's relationship proved to transcend boundaries. 

We were reminded of a few important things: A political gaffe surrounding Frederick Douglass ended up turning into a history lesson. John McCain reminded us what does (and does not) make a hero. An old Mr. Rogers video went viral and underscored for everyone how valuable public television is for kids

Speaking of television, the independent political pundit Jake Tapper began repairing CNN's reputation with fearless, straightforward journalism. Maxine Waters stood up to Bill O'Reilly after he made a joke about her that many considered racist. Gretchen Carlson was vindicated for speaking out against O'Reilly after he was forced from Fox News for multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Fox News' struggles emphasized the importance of eliminating sexual harassment from the workplace. Ladies on Twitter sounded off about mansplaining and a 10-year-old girl requested the day off for International Women's Day.

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau publicly advocated for businesses to promote women — on the behalf of their bottom lines. Abigail Breslin opened up about her experiences with sexual assault. Oh, and we witnessed the first woman ever to get a scholarship for football. She might have a future playing against J.J. Watt, who threw a retirement party for the teacher that convinced him to play football.

In Syria, a war photographer dropped his camera and picked up a child injured in a bombing to save his life. Filmmakers gave us a front row view of the White Helmets' brave work rescuing people after bombings ... and won an Oscar for their efforts. Amal Clooney took the floor at the U.N. to plead with world leaders to hold ISIS responsible for its war crimes. After President Trump's air strikes in Syria, Americans educated themselves on the many perspectives of the civil war.

During the tragic terrorist attack in London, a politician rushed towards the violence to try and save an officer's life. In the wake of the attack, a group of Muslim women performed an act of solidarity on the Westminster Bridge. A Muslim teenager went viral on Twitter for destroying a stereotype by proving her religious father let her make her own choices. She wasn't alone in crushing Islamaphobic stereotypes: Qasim Rashid, a Muslim advocate and lawyer, went viral for sharing his response after a White supremacist insinuated Islam was the only violent religion.

We also saw partisan opponents come together. Chelsea Clinton twice defended the Trumps, first when she protested the bullying of Barron Trump and again when she defended the expensive cost of protecting the first family. Despite news coverage revolving around riots at Berkeley, some students managed to hash out differences by speaking with each other. The ACLU defended Ann Coulter's right to free speech when she was threatened into not appearing on campus. Democratic and Republican congressman took a friendly road trip together. 

Amazingly, people on the opposite side of climate change came together, too. Two major coal companies came out in support of the Paris Climate Agreement. One group of Republican lawmakers proposed a carbon tax, a law environmentalists have been proposing for decades. Tucker Carlson and Bill Nye hashed out their climate change differences on national television. 

Two veteran politicians enjoyed some friendly headlines as well: Angela Merkel gave some sage advice on diplomacy. George W. Bush came to the defense of the media that once scorned him (and I actually agreed with him).

And that wasn't the only good day for the press: Tom Hanks sent the White House corps an espresso machine. The pope showed everyone how to deal with fake news (and announced an amazing new initiative). The New York Times' correspondent Rukmini Callimachi captured a day in the life of an Iraqi. A group of high school students exposed that their principal had lied about her credentials. Citizen journalists flexed their muscles against United Airlines.  Even an Uber driver who happened to be a lawyer stood up to police lying to him about his right to film them.

Of course, some conversations with law enforcement proved more fruitful. Dwayne Bryant's new book shows how young people can better handle interactions with cops, and talks about his own success in police interactions. A ticket officer on a train in Australia shut down a racist passenger. 

Developments across the globe have also brought tremendous change. In the last 100 days, we looked at how new innovations are improving life in the developing world. Two organizations are attacking the world water crisis with amazing water filters and programs that loan out money to create water sanitation centers in countries that need them most. Melinda Gates is advocating to send birth control to many of those same countries

Despite concerns, the scientific community also had some highlights in Trump's first 100 days. The March for Science was a non-partisan event that became a roaring success across the globe. One person brought a very compelling sign about racism. Neil deGrasse Tyson shared his "most important" words with the world, and millions of people tuned in. A biology teacher poked holes in a transphobic Facebook meme by explaining the science behind gender (she was also joined by Caitlyn Jenner and sportscaster Dale Hansen, who both stood up for transgender kids recently). 

Since President Trump's inauguration, we profiled five other politicians worth following on Twitter, a woman who dropped everything to start an orphanage in Kenya, an organization that has solved the prison-to-homelessness pipeline, a model who is combatting sex crimes against children, and we even told you how to ask for a day off from work to attend a political rally.

We asked fashion brands who made their clothes and Richard Simmons calmed the worries of his fans. Elizabeth Warren made a promise to middle schoolers and Marco Rubio took a hard stand against the persecution of gays in Chechnya. 

Canada announced it is legalizing pot, and I wrote about why the United States should, too. Vice President Mike Pence opened up about his relationship with his wife. Trump announced a new commission to combat opioid addiction, and Planned Parenthood stood up for its patients by rejecting Trump's offer of funding on the condition they stopped providing abortion services. 

Someone hung a "refugees welcome" banner for the world to see, then we heard from real refugees about what their life is like

The academic world had some major wins in Trump's first 100 days as well. A new website compiled valuable data on the breadth of human trafficking. A new report showed children's health is the best it's ever been. New studies discovered that female doctors are more effective and immigrants are less likely to commit crime.

We looked into how people care more about politics than ever before, and why that's a good thing. We suggested nine executive orders for Trump to sign. We highlighted town hall meetings that took some powerful turns

A 3-year-old answered Reddit's questions and a fifth-grader's powerful note to teachers went viral. Someone decided to turn dirty cars into street art. A foster mom spoke out about flaws in the system. Nurses broke protocol to give a dying man his final wish, and a stepdaughter got her stepdad the perfect gift: adoption papers.

I wrote about how simple tech advancements could save our government, why we don't need more military funding, and what happens when everyone falls for conspiracies. I wrote about what I learned at the Women's March, and I asked our readers one of the most important questions of our time: what's the risk of acting on climate change?

All this happened in the last 100 days, while the news bubbled with fear and consternation. And in the next week, as we relive every moment of Trump's first 100 days, remember that there is a world outside of our president. And so much of it is worth noticing. 

Cover image: Evan El-AminShutterstock

You can follow Isaac Saul on Twitter at @Ike_Saul


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