Don’t smile because it’s over, cry because it happened: a formal review of 2016

Beth Wall, Examiner Editor

I’d like to speak directly to the people that fabricated this vicious expedition known as “2016”, because boy did they fumble this one.

Maybe it was all in tribute to the eternal Bard, and the 400 years since his death. Truly, 2016 has been a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

I think the Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro serve as a perfect tableau to represent the whole production. A shiny (isolated) display of achievement, endurance, and intrepid spirit, set against a looming, poverty-stricken backdrop, thick clouds of smog and high-power stadium lights obscuring the 90.20 crime rate.

What progress seemed to have been made this year was quickly swallowed by a more oppressive force, yielding (what seems to be) no progress at all.

American women reached (half a) milestone–we nearly (almost!) made (close!) it (kinda…) to the White House (sure, the effort was, in the end, submitted to an administration that explicitly promises to confine, strip, and degrade us, but like…).

The polls predicted a confidently female future leadership, but a silent population surprisingly prevailed. The American process of Democracy needs to be respected to some degree, I suppose, but I also question the despair, protests, and public outcry that would have been invoked in response to the phrase “President-elect Hillary Clinton.” Not many citizens, I think, were entirely happy with giving their vote to a politician whose stances are prone to fluidity, but not many also would have feared for their safety, had she been elected to office.

A North Dakota tribe peacefully persevered and, through weeks of torment and extreme conditions, protected their right to clean water, but still, families in Flint, MI continue to be poisoned with the consequences of their government’s indifference.

June, 26, 2015. After years of fighting, LGBTQ+ individuals were guaranteed the right to marriage. Just under a year later, 49 attendees of a gay nightclub in Orlando were targeted, and denied their right to life. Had the victims of Orlando survived a few months later, they would have witnessed a Vice President who, in 2000, proposed that federal funds be directed towards gay conversion therapy, to confront  the HIV/AIDS epidemic. A Vice President who also claimed, in 2006 (in support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage), “Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

“How could this happen?” we all cried out (digitally), following our politically-charged retweets and Facebook feed echoes. The mainstream directs the spotlight and so, the power. This year was pretty terrible, but I don’t think we have to  look too far  beyond our noses for the insitagtor(s).

Michael Phelps’s angry face became a pretty serviceable meme, but what of the favela which was mowed through to create his swimming pool?

2016 decimated its audience, yet through wincing eyes, they peek out, desperately wondering: Dear God, what now?, and paying the price of a double-feature ticket that runs the whole show.