9 Crucial Moments In Politics In 2014, Expertly Told With Reaction GIFs

As we enter the second half of President Barack Obama's last term with a newly Republican-controlled Congress, there's no question politics are going to be hairy going forward into 2015. But before we freak out about that, it's time to let's take a look back at all we have accomplished — and, sometimes, hopelessly bungled — this year. From kicking Russia out of the G8 to legalizing same-sex marriage in a handful of states, from immigration reform to CIA torture reports, here are some of the political highlights of 2014, as told in GIFs.

Obama gave the State of the Union address

Entering 2014 with high hopes that the government would refrain from shutting down this year, Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 28 promised 2014 would be a "year of action." Obama said he would circumvent an uncooperative Congress by using executive orders — a promise he made good on with little hesitation. Because the last two years of your presidency are your chance to really go wild, eh?

In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want — for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

Obama raised the minimum wage for federal workers

On Feb. 12, Obama's first executive order of the year raised the minimum wage for federal contract workers from $7 to $10.10. This, he argued, would boost the economy and help millions of Americans. Congress wasn't too happy about it. Obama didn't really care.

Russia got kicked out of the G8

Following its actions against the Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea, Russia is kicked out of the G8 on March 24 by the U.S. and other world superpowers.

Mississippi signed a truly terrible law

On April 3, Governor Phil Bryant signed it into law that individuals and businesses can deny services to anyone if it would interfere with their religious beliefs. This decision, in particular, threatened the LGBT community, who could be actively discriminated by anyone whose religion forbids homosexuality. Sigh.

SCOTUS put an end to affirmative action in college admissions

On April 22, SCOTUS ruled in favor of a Michigan constitutional amendment banning the use affirmative action in state college admissions decisions. The decision also influenced similar debates in other states, meaning provisions put in place to help minorities and lower-income students get into college are now no longer in place.

And then there was... Hobby Lobby

On June 30, SCOTUS made a decision in what is most popularly known as the Hobby Lobby case, in which two corporations (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties) with closely-held religious values petitioned to be exempt from the Obamacare mandate that requires businesses to provide birth control to their employees. SCOTUS ruled closely-held corporations are not required to provide birth control if it violates their religious values. Because corporations are people, apparently.

Obama declared "war" on ISIS

On Sept. 10, Obama gave a televised speech declaring his intentions to bring down ISIS, a radical Islamic terrorist group whose long list of crimes against humanity include the execution of American and British journalists.

SCOTUS declined to hear same-sex marriage cases

From Oct. 6-12, SCOTUS declined to hear cases appealed to them from 11 states after their respective federal judges declared same-sex marriage constitutional. This landmark decision, or lack thereof, made same-sex marriage legal in the majority of the U.S.

The GOP took over the Senate. Sad face

On Election Day — Nov. 4 this year — Republicans took over the Senate and House of Representatives, holding the majority of seats in both areas of Congress. Depending on who you are, this was either great or horrible news, but most likely the latter.

The CIA came under fire for its post-9/11 torture program

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a lengthy report on Dec. 9 regarding how the CIA misled both Congress and the American public about the extent and efficacy of the torture inflicted on those detained during the U.S.'s post-9/11 investigations. Yikes.

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