2016 Review

Only Two Posts Left! Get them while you can. This is the penultimate post for 2016.

People died, some famous, whom we remember, many not famous, whom we gloss over.

Political upheavals took root. The Arab Spring has given way to the Western Winter of Democracy.

Record temperatures, wildfires, floods and droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes.

Was 2016 as bad as the critics suggest? The economy is relatively healthy in the USA. There have been some slippages in things like distribution of wealth, life expectancy, and voting rights, but the basic outlook should seem positive on the whole.

A lot of people are fixated on the presidential victory of the infamous Donald Trump, but early indicators point to enough legislative friction and civic fervor to push back on anything crazy he might attempt. So Alaska might get invaded by Russia, or Miami might get a new above-ground salt-water swimming area a bit sooner than otherwise. New neighbors are nothing to be afraid of, and swimming is great exercise!

Sure, the Republicans are planning to cut taxes, cut Medicare, cut Social Security, block-grant Medicaid, repeal the Affordable Care Act, defund Planned Parenthood, dismantle the scientific capacities of our most-lauded federal agencies including NASA, the EPA, and the FDA… but all of that’s planned for 2017. This is supposed to be about the year we’re finishing, not the year yet to come.

And if the Republicans can cut all of that with a single blade, we’ll just package that up and sell it on late-night infomercials. If it can cut through the will of the people, it can cut through anything, including that fruit cake you got for Generic Winter Holiday.

Point is, 2016 was largely a fuse being lit. 2016 wasn’t the worst year in history, but it may represent the winter solstice, the start of an unfortunate historical period. The governmental explosion that is the Trump-administration-to-be will play itself out, and like always, humanity will work to right itself in the aftermath. Same goes for the Brexit and other pending disasters.

The real risk that Trump poses may not be his policies (however much damage they may do), but the legacy of skepticism that will result: the next generation of real, needed government shakeups may be harder to come by once Trump has tossed out a lot of rotten fruit that takes years to clean up.