A quick introduction before I get into the editorial proper. This is an article that has been delayed longer than I would’ve wished for. I wanted for some time now to write about more than just video games, music, and movies. Moving forward, this WordPress blog is going to be more based on myself than the topics I typically focus on. I mentioned this in the past, but this is really the start of that. Instead of coming to this blog for stuff on video games, you’ll be coming here for me, for my views and thoughts on a variety of topics. Subject matter will start becoming more serious and more controversial topics are bound to pop up. I thank you for continuing to read my work, and support my content. Video games and the like will still have a big presence here, as I’m still passionate about those subjects. However, you’re going to see a lot more than just that from now on. Now on to the editorial.
The year 2016 has been over for a month now. While the impact of the events that happened in 2016 will not fully be understood until much later, the immediate effects of the year are definitely being felt now and it seems that little of it is for the better. Many have declared 2016 not just a horrible year, but possibly one of the worst years in history. Whether it be the 2016 United States Presidential Election, the military coup in Turkey, or Brexit, there were multiple occurrences of political change, social unrest, and tragic deaths. One can’t deny that the year quickly casted a dissonant pall over many of us as tragedy after tragedy kept happening without respite. Some were lucky and found success in their personal lives, but many others did not, being sucked into the collapse of the world. While I can’t compare and contrast 2016 with previous years in a reasonable amount of time, I am confident in saying that this was the worst year I’ve ever personally lived through, and others who feel in kind have good reason to.
It’s not like all of this couldn’t have been seen coming. After the September 11th attacks, we entered a period of turbulent times where military conflict and the overarching threat of terrorism became accepted and normal. Where basic civil liberties were forfeited for the illusion of security without much of a fight from detractors. Even the slight political backlash in America in the mid 2000s and the economic crash of 2008 didn’t amount to much of a shift in the lives of people. Instead of being proactive to make change happen in our world, to quote John Mayer, we were “Waiting on the World to Change” instead. This is especially true of my generation. Some false starts happened, such as the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States and the Occupy movement. However, after the Obama presidency and the promise of hope was left lukewarm, the mood switched back to its previous mode of complacency, but with a newer sense of pride that reaffirmed them. Yet as the public slipped deeper and deeper into this assured smugness, more and more major events and tragedies began to occur. A new wave of feminism flourished, same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States, mass shootings increased, and more discourse was happening online with movements like GamerGate.
Then 2016 happened; the year when it all came to ahead, exposing the dangers of complacency and woke up many to the state of our world as the problems previously swept under the proverbial rug exploded abruptly and violently. The greatest mass shooting in American history happened when Omar Mir Seddique Mateen open fired and killed 49 people in the Orlando Gay nightclub Pulse before he was killed by police officers. Extreme right views previously thought to being relics of the past resurfaced with renewed support under the Alt-Right movement, and a new wave of neo-nazism was born. In reaction to this, as well as the increase of police shootings against civilians, especially black individuals, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum, echoing the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In the midst of all this, beloved entertainers that had massive influence on pop culture, and inspired millions of people generations over started passing away in mass. Some like David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher also had a massive impact on social issues such as gender identity, homosexuality, mental health, and women’s rights. This meant that we were also losing leaders of causes currently being challenged. This is not even going into the terrorist attacks, other mass shootings, plane crashes, and political espionage that also happened in 2016.
Now despite all this, there were some good things that happened in 2016. There were several medical breakthroughs such as the genome for ALS being discovered thanks in part to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge started in 2014, the environment is starting to recover in various ways such as the Ozone layer beginning to repair itself over Antarctica, and Pope Francis of the Catholic church and Patriarch Kirill of the Eastern Unorthodox church met for the first time in nearly a thousand years. Like many years, there were both good and bad moments and naysayers will argue that most years are like this. Although some site this as a means of contention, others are well intentioned and would rather change the narrative to something less depressing and extravagant. And there is a bit of truth to this. Change happens, lives are upended, and people die. Such is life and 2016 is no different. However, while the amount of good and bad things may be roughly proportional to previous years, the severity of the bad things are not. We are still dealing directly and aggressively with the outcome of some of last year’s events, more so than any other year prior. More importantly, we’re going to be dealing with it for much longer. 2016 was the catalyst for how the world is going to unfold for the foreseeable future, much like 9/11 did. And maybe we needed it to be. Because 2016 may have been awful, but it was important.
Thanks so much for reading. This was merely a warm-up to this type of article. Future articles will be much more in depth (as you can imagine since it’s quite difficult to sum up the perception of an entire year), and I’ll be focusing on more central topics. Please leave a comment if you would like to add your perspective, but please be civil. Free speech is welcome, but hate speech is not. Peace and love, fighters and suffragettes! Colorwind out.