2016 – The Year In Review

There are about 20 days left in 2016 as I pen this article. Traditionally on New Year’s Eve I review the year that just passed. Unless something huge and unusual happens over those last 20 days here is a quick look at the biggest political stories of 2016.

Nothing was larger or more impactful than the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States! I’m not saying it was good; I’m saying it was and will be impactful. Remember nightmares are dreams. Time named Trump its Person of the Year because of the impact he had; not because they thought he was wonderful. Trump let his ego get the best of him and actually said it was a great honor.

The 2016 election is one we will study for some time and America will come to regret! The Democrats blew it, plain and simple. They were favored to retain the White House and take back control of the Senate. They did neither. Looking ahead to 2018 I think it will be difficult for the Democrats to maintain their 52-48 deficit in the upper chamber. Unless things take some major unexpected turns between now and November of 2018 the three seat pickup needed to take control is a fantasy.

As if a Trump presidency weren’t scary enough we saw the “acceptability” of racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, fake news and hatred. Much of that is because of Trump’s hate group aided victory. Extremists feel they won (even though they lost the popular vote) and feel their views are now acceptable. America’s near future indeed looks dark and ominous! To add to the misery, the far right seems to be squeaking out wins in Europe as well, (i.e. the Brexit).

Perhaps one of the bright spots was actually a byproduct of several tragedies. Racial inequity and mass incarceration are subjects that are now on most tables for discussion. I feel that if everyone treated everyone else with basic human respect and afforded them basic human dignity as their first reaction the world be a better. At least a lot more of us are openly discussing these problems.

Terrorism, both domestic and foreign, is still with us as are mass shootings. I put them all in the same heap of trouble. Sadly achievable solutions aren’t any closer to reality then they were when 2016 started. The thing that really worries me is that Americans seem to be becoming almost anesthetized to mass shootings in particular. They used to receive wall-to-wall coverage (which was too much); now they struggle to make the front page.

OK, that’s enough for today. Go out and celebrate 2016. I fear it may be the best year we have for the next several. I hope I’m wrong!

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