Anyone who says otherwise is a complete moron
For the past 365 days we have suffered through a hellacious year. 2016 hasn’t been fun. 2016 hasn’t given the world a reason to cheer. 2016 has sucked from one end to the other. Period. Every morning I come in, look at the headlines, and immediately want to go back to bed, hoping it’s all a dream. A nightmare. I’m ready to wake up anytime, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. We’re stuck with this stupid year.
Is this the worst year ever? Well, no, not if one counts all the hundreds of years where some sort of plague was running rampant, or the dark ages, or pretty much any year prior to 1790 when the Industrial Revolution finally got around to making our lives just a little bit better. This wasn’t any 1929, either. The vast majority of us have jobs and some of them even pay a decent living wage, or come close. We don’t have the spending power we once did, but we’re still finding ways to keep a roof over our heads and those of us in the US are still putting way too much food in our bellies. So, you have that if you really want to embrace it.
Still, just because all of history pretty much sucked before our great-great-grandparents started doing some cool shit doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a bad year. This was a bad year and I don’t mind taking a few minutes out of my day to make sure you understand just exactly why this was a bad year. This year is a warning. We can turn ourselves around now, or things can get worse in 2017. And 2018. And the foreseeable future. We need to learn from this year before it’s 1837 all over again. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with 1837. The only thing good about 1837 was Worcestershire sauce.
So, here, in no particular order, are ten damn good reasons that 2016 sucked. You are free to disagree, but if you do we’re locking you away where you can’t hurt intelligent people.
The Rio Olympics
Talk about a cluster fuck. Even before the games started we knew this was going to be a bad one. Venues were incomplete. The water where athletes were supposed to swim was littered with trash. Corruption was rampant at every conceivable level of the games, including within the IOC itself. Russian athletes were prevented from participating because of a doping scandal and a number of athletes refused to participate because of the threat of the Zika virus. Then, just to give the games a WTF label, there was Ryan Lochte pretending to get robbed when he was the one being a punk. The world would be better off had these games never happened.
The Refugee Crisis
21 million people. Stop and think about that for a moment. TWENTY-ONE MILLION PEOPLE. That’s how many refugees have left war-torn countries across Europe and Africa looking for a place where they could live peacefully without someone trying to blow their heads off just for existing. They flooded into Europe for the most part, creating crisis there because not only was there an incredible strain on already strained resources, but because terrorists hid in their midst, causing many people to not want to help people with extreme and genuine need. This was a humanitarian crisis unlike anything we’ve seen in the past 60 years and for the most part, the majority of us sat on our fucking hands.
Far too many of those refugees came from Syria, where the government military of President Assad battled with a number of different rebel groups for control of the country. The entire country has been devastated by the war, but the worst atrocities came in the city of Aleppo, what had once been Syria’s largest city. The world watched in horror as the entire city was reduced to nothing but rubble. An untold number of civilians, especially children, were killed by barrel bombs employed by government forces. There was no relief until the city was completely empty, a mere shell of its former self. Making this tragedy worse was the failure of the US and its allies to successfully intervene. Blame bad policy and an unreasonable fear of pissing off other stupid little Middle Eastern dictators.
Venezuelan Food Shortages
Americans have really enjoyed lower gas prices this year, but the low price of oil has a human toll. As oil prices sunk, the country of Venezuela went further and further into crisis. By May, there were long lines for food, assuming you could find a store that actually had anything edible in stock. By the end of summer, most food was gone and even staples such as bread and dairy products were nearly impossible to find. As the country’s economy collapsed, creating corruption involving bank notes, the government made a bad situation worse by changing currency in November, making old money worthless. A warehouse full of 4 million toys was found in early December, but it’s still hard to have a happy Christmas when you don’t even have enough food to make a sandwich.
For all the really incredible displays of stupidity, voters in the UK set an early score to beat when they voted to leave the European Union. Political analysts around the world were stunned. While the topic had been a matter of discussion for over a year, no one in their right mind thought the numbskulls would actually vote to separate themselves from the EU. Not that it’s actually happened yet. Politicians there have spent the rest of the year trying to decide whether a full separation is actually possible (they’re still unsure) and if so, how to actually make it happen without creating a full-scale economic disaster. Most people thought that this would be the biggest political disaster of the year. Unfortunately, the US took it as a challenge.
A country without drinking water
The water crisis in Flint, Michigan actually began in late 2015, but it came to a head in early 2016 with the city being declared one giant fucking disaster area in January. Both state and federal politicians then proceeded to spend most of the rest of the year arguing about who to blame. Here we are at the end of the year and there are still large populations within Flint that, at the very least, have to boil their water. Many are still having to use bottled water. Several politicians, including the mayor of Flint and the governor of Michigan, have been indicted for corruption, but the people most directly affected are still suffering. Worse yet, the problems are spreading as the national infrastructure of lead water pipes is crumbling.
Standing Rock standoff
Oil. Our dependency on fossil fuels has become a national disgrace, one which spineless politicians refuse to address because of the number of jobs associated with the inefficient and quickly depleting fuel system. Since we can’t produce enough oil to cover domestic requirements, we have to bring it in through any means available, including pipelines. Pipelines that leak. They always have. They habitually create environmental problems everywhere they are laid.
So, when yet another greedy oil company wanted to run a stretch of pipeline across an area that would have contaminated the water supply for native tribes living there, they said, “Hell, no.” As word spread of the tribe’s protest, others joined the cause. The protests were peaceful, but police still decided they needed to fight back with attack dogs and water canons. For now, the matter is calm as the Corp of Engineers refused the pipeline company’s request for easement. However, there is tremendous fear that the oil companies will try again once the new president is installed.
Pulse Nightclub shooting
We have wrestled long and hard with tremendous amounts of hate across this country both toward people of color and people of varying gender identities. There have been random acts of violence scattered all across the country this year, but none were so horrific as the events at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on the night of June 12. That was the night Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. The particular details of what motivated him and whether he pledged allegiance to some terrorist group are irrelevant at this juncture. Hate was at the root of the problem, as it has been at every other racial and/or gender-identity-motivated crime in the country.
This one makes me particularly nervous because it inevitably carries over into the new year. One of the worst anti-LGBT politicians in the country is now Vice President and he markets in hate as though it were a valuable commodity. Already there are those trying to sweep the tragedy of the Pulse Nightclub under the rugs. This is a stain not only on the year, but all of the US.
We did a fantastic job of showing the world our stupid side this year. Anti-intellectualism has always been present in the undercurrent of American society. This year, however, it came to the surface and repeatedly inserted itself into public discourse with statements so astonishingly stupid that the rest of us could only shake our head and wonder how much Flint, Michigan water they were drinking. Just how bad did it get? Consider some of these quotes from this disgraceful year:
- the government is “hyping Hurricane Matthew to sell climate change.” – Rush Limbaugh (in spirit with Matt Drudge)
- “[D]o we need government-funded research at all[?]” – Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Donald Trump’s choice to head the White House Office of Management and Budget,
- [climate change is] “the perfect pseudoscientific theory” to justify liberal politicians’ efforts to expand “government power over the American citizenry.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
- “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain.” Dr. Ben Carson
- “I’m saying people have gotten things wrong throughout the 5,500-year history of our planet.” – Anthony Scaramucci
Mind you, that is just a small collection from people who’ve made the most media noise over the past year. There are MILLIONS of other quotes from equally ignorant people all over the world. I mean, stop and think about it, A full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark opened in June in order to further the mythology known as “creation science,” which actually contains little valid science at all! When it comes to matters of science and advances in intelligence, 2016 may have actually seen us move backward, that’s just how bad it’s been.
The Presidential election
Oh. my. god. No, this one is so horrible I’m not even going there. Scratch this one out. If I try writing anything about this piece of insanity I’m going to throw up and miss the New Year’s Eve party.
Deaths of Notable Persons
No, contrary to popular belief, there have not been more deaths of celebrities this year than any other year. In fact, if one is looking purely at numbers, then this year was a little below average in a few categories. However, that approach is assuming that all lives are equal. Uhm, no. If I die before midnight (which I’m definitely not planning on doing), I wouldn’t make anyone’s list. In fact, I might not even make the obituary in the Indianapolis Star. However, the deaths of people we really care about, people whose contributions to our lives, people whose work directly affected who we are and shaped are personalities, is what has made this a horrible, horrible year unlike any that we remember.
Look beyond just the number of bodies. David Bowie alone is worth at least a thousand mere mortal souls. Merle Haggard? C’mon, you just can’t rank the Okie from Muskogee with all those commoners. And then, there’s Prince. Seriously, he’s a three-hour “In Memoriam” reel all on his own. The numbers themselves are irrelevant. What matters is that we lost people of note with whom we felt as though we had a connection, and we lost them one after another after another after another after another. There was no break. What started as a shock in January just kept causing us pain right up until this very last week. Everything else this year could have been sunshine and daisies and the people we lost would still leave us feeling as though we’d had our hearts collectively ripped out and stomped upon.
NOW do you understand why this year sucked so horribly? And we didn’t even get into things like automobile recalls, stupid stalking clowns, phones blowing up, Russia hacking the election, or anything else that might have been a really big story most any other year. Nope, 2016 sucked bilge water.
So, please understand if our celebration tonight is rather muted. We’re not just saying goodbye to 2016, we’re shooting it in the head and burying that fucker 30-feet deep and covering it with rebar and concrete to make sure it doesn’t rear its ugly head ever again. And we’re going to make the baby 2017 sit there and watch so it will know what happens to a year that fucks up. Little squirt better get these next twelve months right.