For those of us old enough to remember, there was a short running television show in the early to mid 1960’s titled That Was The Week That Was, based on a show by the same name originating in the United Kingdom. It was described as a “Topical political satire program that poked fun at the events of the week. A series of musical numbers, skits, and irreverent humor. It prided itself on being controversial”. Oh boy, they would have had a field day with 2016!
2016…what a year; the interminable U.S. election; ISIS lead and ISIS inspired terrorist attacks around the world, even on our own shores; the brutal Syrian civil war and the terrible refugee crisis it has produced; continued bombings in Iraq and regions of the Middle East and northern Africa; the death of too many celebrities and talented musicians. Add to these true issues the proliferation of fake news stories started by terrible individuals and believed by too many of the uninformed public (my favorite recent fake news story told by a friend; her massage therapist heard that Michelle Obama is really a man and the Obama children are adopted…she really believes this to be true!) Good riddance to 2016….don’t let the door hit you in the butt as you make your way into the history books.
Hello 2017, you fresh faced infant of a year. What delights do you hold for us? More of the same? Whether Republican or Democrat, we should all be concerned with the direction our country is headed, if nothing else because we’ve never been down this road before. Will Trump and his new administration surprise us and really take us in a direction that will be good for most Americans. Will he really be able to deliver on his off-the-cuff freewheeling promises, and do we want him to? So far, with confirmation hearings just starting, it doesn’t appear he’s ‘drained the swamp’. That said, I really, really hope my gut is wrong and Trump surprises us all. Call me naive, but I don’t see how terrible America has been and why we need to make a great place ‘great again’. Except for the sharp increase in health insurance premiums, my life has been pretty good, and our extensive travels overseas attests to the fact that we have it pretty good here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. Without listing his strengths and weaknesses or his accomplishments and failures, it’s true that President Obama has not been a great president, but he has been very good. And if nothing else he’s a great symbol of integrity and confidence, which we did not see from many of the possible presidential nominees in 2016.
The one worry I do have, which should have us all concerned, is the empowerment that extremists on the alt-right feel with Trump’s win. We don’t want to go backwards when it comes to civil rights. We don’t want to go backwards when it comes to antisemitism. We don’t want to go backwards when it comes to women’s rights. We don’t want to go backwards when it comes to the rights of the LGBT community. We don’t want to go backwards when it comes to religious freedoms. There’s no place for a racist ideology in this country.
I’m really a fairly optimistic person; the glass is always half full (and the first half was great!). That said, perhaps the following three minute clip from a routine performed by George Carlin sums up how I look at politics. It’s funny, yes, but for me realistic. I understand that as an individual I have very little power when it comes to politics…but as a human I can strive to live the best life possible in each moment of my life.
WARNING: if you’re offended by the seven words you can’t say on television (another classic Carlin routine) you may not want to watch the following. But you’d really be missing out….Enjoy; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ