Yeah, I know about the deaths, the votes that point to much smaller worlds under the rule of corporations, the signs that we have passed peak cellphone (exploding Samsung S7s, iPhones (and all things Apple) with fewer holes than necessary), the troubles my friends have suffered (from wildfires in Tennessee to financial issues that take their sweet time to tighten the screws), and the fact that These United States are actually two nations, each nation dreaming of subjugating the other (If I was a betting man my money would be on the Rednecks, as they have the guns and know how to use them. The Urban Elites only use Proxies, and proxies can always turncoat without remorse.).
Probably the worst thing about 2016, as long as you kept things on the Macro level, was that it seemed that there were dark forces that have been hell-bent on breaking things up. Quite a few of the deaths were of people who’s life work was the bringing together of various peoples for fun or serious business. The two major elections (Brexit and Trump/Clinton) split their respective nations in two, quickly degenerated into bitter fights, and were decided in ways that seemed to aim towards the atomization of the non-corporate world. And while everything seemed to be atomizing in the public sphere, Corporations were combining (and very likely consolidating their powers in various ways) while the Armed branches of the Governments were gaining unity. And while the left seemed desperate to find fantasies to hang their hopes on (to the point that what they were agitating for threatened to make their own candidate PATENTLY unelectable), the fantasies of the various versions of the right seemed to be being made real before the world’s eyes.
(And I shall only mention the Muslim refugee issue here to note that people forced to run have no real reason to give up their beliefs or even to moderate them – they were happy enough with those beliefs where they were and didn’t exactly choose their present living place, unlike the immigrants of years past who came for economic opportunity and thus had good reasons to make peace and moderate themselves into society.)
Makes one wish to have stayed in 2016, however painful it may look. After all, if the world is about to drop into the abyss, better to be frozen before the drop than to go over and deal with the impact below.
Going to the micro level is a bit different. For me, it was actually a year of finishing some unfinished business. Baggage that I had held onto for too long was taken care of (not all by me, but I did my part), priorities were adjusted to fit into my new situation, and hard decisions were actually made. For the first time in my nearly 52 years (outside of certain isolated moments) I can honestly say that I’m an adult.
Now if you’re expecting a speech on how things are improving, you’ve come to the wrong place. 52 (or soon to be 52) is not 25, and the more-than-doubling of my years has left my body in a worse place than before. Twenty-plus years of sitting down on the job (taxi driving/transport) hasn’t helped, nor has carrying 100+ pounds of excess weight for eighteen plus years, nor gaining it like mad before then (I hope to lose SOME of it in the next couple years…).
Another thing that an extra 27 years does is to give a bit of perspective; perspective that people who readily quote Nietzche don’t yet understand. “Whatever doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger” is nice to quote when you’re twenty-five and trying to justify all the evil in the world done to others by others, but grow old enough and you learn that not everything that harms you necessarily kills you. I could easily point to HIV (When the person dies, it’s from some infection or disease that would have been stopped but runs rampant because of the lack of T-helper cells), but there’s plenty of stuff out there that doesn’t kill but weakens, even if you take care of it – stuff that, even in the coccooned times of recent, people learned as they grew older; and stuff which I believe younger people will more and more learn at a younger age as the years go on. I learned this from my Pneumonia fit in 1996 (and have had refreshers since then), all the Universities and Colleges nursing their investments and gutting education also understand this in their own way (Why not protect and grow your unspent funds while you can if you fear there’s a time coming when you’ll have to spend them to survive?).
And finally, there’s the issue of choices. Not every choice is going to be between something bad and something good, or something good and something better – sometimes we’re talking about two or three bad choices, and those are the best choices out there. Sometimes life is like that, and sometimes it doesn’t even give you a choice – “take this reduction in your life, and nobody will care if you’ll like it (or, in this corporacratic world, know that SOMEONE is taking pleasures from your decline; pray that it’s an INDIRECT pleasure…).”
My fear (and expectation) is that, more and more, we’re going to get stuck with these choices – and would have gotten to this point no matter how certain things went this year. Probably the biggest thing the 2016 Presidential election decided was who would get the pleasure of watching the other side take the biggest psychological hits during the rest of 2016, and the Brexit vote merely proved that the “political left” (now the side with nothing to gain and everything to lose with change, hence the quotation marks – they should probably have been called “New Conservatives” at some point in the past twenty years…) had nothing to state positively for their case, a problem that Mme. Clinton shared with the Remainers in the Brexit vote and Mr. Trump exploited (Yes, Sanders had a vision. He may have been made unable to try to fix the nation, but at least he’s trying to fix the Democratic Party at the moment, thank God…).
That’s why I don’t plan on EVER saying “Good Riddance to 2016” the way I did to 2009. I could see things getting better in 2010; I’m not sure that could have ever been said about 2017.
Still, I must go on. There is an alternative to dealing with the future – even a bad future – but it is a choice that is often endowed with lots of radical benefits for it to be even allowed into conversation.
And here’s to hoping that 2017 is a better year – however BLIND that hope is.