Recap of 2016: The Year That Definitely Happened
Well, thank goodness that’s over!
When we rang in the New Year one year ago, our hearts were full of hope and joy. We crossed our fingers and toes to wish, as we always do, that the coming year will be better than the last. Even as we reflect on the joys and struggles of the previous year, we look to the future and imagine the bright, new world we are about to experience.
January 1, 2016. How naive we were.
While much was new, very little was bright. In a poll done by NBC, over half of Americans said that 2016 was below average or one of the worst years they can remember. Now, to be sure, it was no 1861 or 1929, but there’s only so many bad things that can happen in one year before we write it off completely, and boy, did 2016 knock it out of the park!
Most of the little enjoyment we could garner out of this year was marred by the loss of many celebrities: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, just to name a few. Even just compiling this short list meant scrolling through dozens of other beloved names. An especially hard one for me to stomach came at the end of the year, with the passing of Carrie Fisher, a woman who has been such an inspiration and still had so much left to do in the world.
Although we enjoyed watching the Rio Olympics and the United States won big, the event was still plagued by controversies, including questions about the government’s stability, the Zika virus, and the Russian doping scandal.
The deadliest mass shooting in American history took place in Orlando, Florida on June 12. The Pulse nightclub shooting was a harsh wakeup call for the country, and made us all reexamine the homophobia and racism still a part of our culture.
In a decision that shocked many people in the world, the United Kingdom voted on a referendum to leave the European Union. The British pound plummeted in value and the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigned to a now infamously hummed tune.
Regardless of your personal politics, this election cycle was rough for everyone involved. Scandal after scandal broke about both candidates, and the country was full of so much vitriol and hate you could swim through it. 2017 is not looking any better on the politics front, though; Donald Trump was inaugurated this year to some of the lowest approval ratings in recent history, and if the numerous protests and aggressive reactions to his executive orders are any indication, American politics are going to be bleak for a while yet.
Also, 2016 inexplicably gave us murderous clowns. Amazing.
None of this is to say that there weren’t any good parts of 2016. Beyoncé dropped Lemonade. Giant pandas are no longer endangered. Hamilton got a record-breaking sixteen Tony Award nominations, of which the musical won eleven. The Red Sox won the World Series (I don’t know anything about sports, but people tell me this is good news.)
So here we are again, crossing our fingers and toes and other bodily extremities in the hopes that 2017 will have mercy on us mere mortals. A lot happened in 2016, but I feel like those of us that came out the other side are stronger for it. So bring it on, 2017! Humanity is waiting for you.