To say that 2016 was a year of surprises smacks of gross understatement. And if you look at almost any commentary on the Internet you’d have to conclude that most people are glad it’s over and done with.
At my age I’m grateful to get another year under my (loosening) belt and relish the time to spend with family and friends as the year comes to an all-too-soon close.
However it would be naïve not to acknowledge some disappointments and worrisome trends that have loomed or grown worse this year. Crises in the Middle East and notably, Syria, ISIS and religious intolerance, in general seem to have expanded to cavernous chasms and are likely to carry on splitting opinions and political positions all over the world.
Mother Nature has thrown a wobbly this year with deadly earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires and record snowfalls in the Northeast at the beginning of the year.
Politics have been turned upside down; Trump’s win was as shocking as the test to the electoral system and Brexit has taken the wind out of European political sails – I personally still believe that will all work out for the best.
Without much help from Russia, the Olympics went off reasonably well, certainly in medal count for the USA but it broke the economy of the host, Brazil. Imagine Michael Phelps, an old geezer by any athletic measurement, is the most decorated Olympian in history. Nice one!
Bloody marvelous, eh? I gave up smoking years ago and now you can smoke all the Cuban cigars you want. Now that Castro’s passed there’ll be some fairly heavy pressure for social change, probably ironically paid for by capitalist tourists.
Violence in every manifestation has spread to all corners of the globe. Chicago is now as much of a war zone as anywhere in the world. Orlando, a center for family fun, now bears the scar of hatred along with another, hitherto haven of peace and quiet, in Nice.
Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen have slipped the bonds of this mortal coil along with Alan Rickman, with whom, by the way, I shared some of my school days.
Occasionally some good news spiked one’s attention; Mother Teresa was canonized, the Zika virus seems to be under some control after threatening a pandemic. The Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter and continues to send some mind-boggling pictures.
Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature but had “other obligations” when it came to attending the ceremony for its collection. He’s always been a bit strange but, really?
For me, one of the brightest spots in the 2016 calendar is the fact that it spells the end of the Obama era. When history looks closely at what he calls progress, it’ll be one of the shortest entries in the annals of American achievement. Granted, he came in to a recession but has expensively kicked the can down the road for others to pick up and pay the price. The essence of socialism!
Washington is in dire need of change and now the principle players are quaking in their boots at some of Trump’s outsider nominees. The confirmation hearings will provide George Stephanopoulos plentiful opportunities to get it right this time! He epitomizes the rest of the mainstream media who, until Trump’s election, believed that they could steer the outcome of the polls. All they do now is snipe and sneer.
Casting political correctness to the wind, I wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.