2016 was a no good, bad, horrible year that should be taken out back, doused in gasoline and set on fire before being dumped in an unmarked grave. We watched civilians slaughtered by the Assad regime in Syria with the assistance of Russia, the slow crumbling of the European Union with the Brexit vote, and the United States elected a thin-skinned alleged billionaire who wants a new nuclear arms race as the next leader of the free world.
Our nation, and our world, are in serious trouble headed into 2017. This year can be a turning point for better, or for worse. It’s up to us to decide which direction it goes.
Here are five of the worst things about 2016, along with what we need to do to fix the mess that we’re currently in:
5. Climate change became more obvious. With deadly wildfires in Tennessee and devastating flooding in Louisiana, it is nearly impossible for anyone with critical thinking skills to deny that human activity is taking a toll on our planet.
4. Fake science continues to dominate social media. Charlatan grifters like Food Babe, March Against Monsanto Infowars, Natural News, Green Med Info and other pseudoscience bloggers are making small fortunes promoting anti-science conspiracy bullshit. These people target low-information consumers on all sides of the political spectrum, and are responsible for the resurgence of diseases like measles that were nearly eliminated because of vaccines.
3. The rise of the alt-right. White nationalism and hate crimes enjoyed a rebirth in 2016 with Trump’s candidacy and eventual election. What was once confined to 8chan and trailer park Klan meetings has now gone mainstream with help from Breitbart and other white-nationalist organizations.
2. The fake news plague became super-viral. Between the Macedonian click-bait and false stories from the left, 2016 was infested with misinformation that made a lot of money for unscrupulous people of all political persuasions.
1. Donald Trump. America had the choice between going forward, or taking a huge leap backwards. While Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, thanks to the Electoral College and some shenanigans, the United States is now poised to become a pawn of Vladimir Putin. Republicans in Congress are already poised to repeal Obamacare, slash taxes for corporations, and even legalize discrimation against the LGBT community once again.
I’m hoping that 2017 will be a better year. I hope that 2017 is the year where the human race starts to get our act together and learn from the mistakes of 2016.
There is too much at stake for us to continue to wallow in apathy and armchair activism. Unless some miracle happens, we’re stuck with at least 4 years of a Trump presidency. It’s time to get off the couch, pick up some books on science and government, and fight like hell.