It was the year we learned that our neighbors, our friends, our lovers, the people we care about deeply and thought we knew, had political beliefs so divergent from our own we could no longer be friends. And that was just the Bernie versus Hillary primaries.
2016 was the year we lost Leonard Cohen and Harper Lee and Muhammad Ali and John Glenn and David Bowie and real heroes. For more than one day. Villains thrived. Even American Olympic athletes sank our pride. It was the year where daily shootings shot past being the New Normal of last year and turned into the Old Hat of today’s news stories. And when Pizza-Gate trumped Reality-Gate.
We learned that, if there was anything more disturbing than a black man showing up in 2015’s Star Wars, it was women showing up in 2016’s Ghostbusters. But Steve Martin is the Sexist Man of the Year. At least David Duke is back to set us all on the straight and narrow-minded. As are Swastikas and hate crimes and pussy-bow third wives.
2016 was the year we learned that “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” became today. And that “Tomorrow” we might be so underwater we won’t see the sun come out. We drank the Kool-Aid and the water in Flint. Weather forecasts were as useless as poll predictions.
In 2016 We witnessed the massacre of 49 people at a gay bar in Orlando, the Once Happiest Place on Earth, knowing full well that if a straight bar in Washington had been hit, Congress might have finally gotten some work done. The year showed us that the GOP no longer even pretends to tell the truth, and is rewarded for it, and that Mitt Romney is the highest bidder’s bitch. Mitch McConnell put on his dog collar years ago. If Billy Joel taught us that we didn’t start the fire, Ted Nugent showed us that we’d be better off if we threw minorities into the blaze. He’s now the U.S. Poet Laureate.
Aleppo amounted to nothing to the ears of Gary Johnson, who actually received presidential votes, and was probably confused as the name of a dog food brand by talking heads who gave facts the short shrift. But those emails… Even Throwback Thursday took a Black Mirror turn as it threw up Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani and women as second-class citizens. And every lie about a Clinton.
This was the year protest voters protested sanity.
2016 showed us why we can’t have anything nice. So we’re getting rid of environmental protections, LGBTQ protections, female rights protections, education protections, healthcare protections, Medicare and Medicaid protections, diplomatic protections, and democracy protections. Soon animal wildlife will be a myth to be read alongside other great fables, like Noah’s Ark. And soon the bible will be a history course. We learned that Evolution is a myth but God is having a very real war over how his son is addressed on his birthday. His disciples are loading up on assault rifles, for the love of Christ.
2016 was the year we lost The Good Wife, and everything good.
2016 showed us that a guest spot on Dancing with the Stars is the best way to get a cabinet position for a position you didn’t know existed, and that Saran Palin might just be the smartest cookie in the female political GOP gene pool. Or just the least offensive. Kellyanne Conway and Michele Bachmann almost make me miss Anita Bryant. 2016 was the year the movie Network went from science fiction warning to TV news and the TV show The Man in the High Castle went from science fiction to a TV warning label.
2016 showed us that, contrary to what even some women told us, electing a female President is not a been-there done-that deal, and that Susan Sarandon has proved the Conservative Right right: Hollywood liberal elitists are dead brains walking and we shouldn’t care what celebrities think. Unless they run for President. In 2016 we learned that, if you can’t say it on a meme, or a tweet, it’s irrelevant, and more than likely fake news. And that when they go low, we roll over to accommodate them.
In 2016 we went from hating Muslims to hating a whole new batch of the population; each other.
In 2016 Barack Obama made it clear that it wasn’t 30 years of fake-GOP-scandals that kept a democrat out of office, or Putin, or James Comey, or voter suppression, or Democratic-fatigue or apathy. It was that we didn’t let him run for a third term. The Alt-Right will love that, when they select their third-term leader. We spent more time on Benghazi hearings than 9/11, Pearl Harbor, JFK, and 3,500 lawsuits. But Ivanka is hawking lovely diamond jewelry on the new White House Home Shopping Network.
Jackie Collins died, Gene Wilder died, Prince died, Princess Leia died, George Michael died, and just about everything we loved about the eighties died. Even Madonna was late. Brexit signaled the end of European Unity and NATO is hanging in the balance. On the bright side, non-entity Kim Kardashian is holding up naked selfies well and non-voter Kanye West is beholden to the idea that communication is key to democracy. Yeezus F. Christ!
In 2016 Debbie Reynolds died because she wanted to be with her daughter. Or perhaps any better place. Maybe we’ll get postcards.
This past year we left freedom in the dust and placed into office a fascist, misogynist, xenophobic, racist, gay-snuffing, mentally unstable, criminally engaged, politically ignorant, thin-skinned, draft-dodging non-taxpaying, treasonous, seditious, emolument-scoffing, Putin puppet, miserable wretch of a human being, even though the opposition won 3 million more votes and the founding fathers deliberately created a system to avoid such a catastrophe. Because all we are saying is give hate a chance.
If there’s one thing we learned in 2016 it’s that we never learn. But the lessons look lovely in the mist.