We’ve had quite a divaricate year, all in all, one with a split personality, one that feels differently to me depending on whether I think about what happened in my personal life or what happened in the nation and the world.
Perhaps it is always that way, but 2016 certainly feels different.
Personally I had a lovely year. My incredible wife and I enjoyed good health, a great deal of happiness, and the frequent company of our wonderful friends and family. We welcomed a beautiful new granddaughter, and I retired in the fall and have been busy with our new puppy since then. I’ve been playing better golf, on the whole, and have had many fun rounds with great friends.
Our children have largely been healthy, though there have been instances here and there of less than stellar health. But no one has been seriously ill, and there have been no deaths in the immediate or extended family.
All to the good.
Nationally it has been a time of enormous upheaval, culminating with the election of the worst candidate for president since at least Andrew Jackson and quite possibly since the founding of our nation. We elected a racist, misogynistic, narcissistic sociopath the likes of which this country hasn’t seen since, well, I don’t know when.
We’ve seen the ugly racism that has been hiding just beneath the surface of too many people’s consciousness explode into overt and vicious racism. It’s as if all the grotesque biases lurking in the shadows have been given expression and general approval in the name of “making American great again.” Far too many people are saying, We’ve finally rid the White House of that blackie and have installed our very own white supremacist in his place. Hooray!
Sickening. Disgusting. Abhorrent.
Internationally we’ve seen atrocities in Aleppo, Russian interventions in Syria and Ukraine, and horrors committed by the Boko Haram in Nigeria.
I will remember 2016 like I remember 1968, as a tumultuous, life-altering period in our history and my own life. We all will emerge from 2016’s grip, without question, and we will survive as a people the next few years, but we will not be the same. We weren’t the same after WWI, nor after WWII, nor after Vietnam and the Nixon years, and we will be forever changed again after we push through this current period.
I know not what 2017 will bring, inwardly or outwardly, but I know that we as a people, and I personally, will work through our issues as best we can, day in and day out. For in the end, that is all we can do.
I wish us all a healthy, happy, and meaningful new year.