The Ruins of 2016
Most everyone is in agreement: 2016 will be remembered as one of the most hideous of all years. We lost a long list of talented entertainers; we elected another not-so-talented entertainer to our highest public office; we experienced notable climate change incidents, including a frightening rise of Arctic temperatures; and, on a more personal note, I lost a dear relative.
As we look back on 2016, we should imagine it as an accumulation of past bad choices. I, for one, decided to throw up my hands in disgust after years of constantly defending myself against the ongoing onslaught of hateful family gossip. When my cousin opined, "What she said meant I never felt the desire to meet you," the motive was clear. Nothing is more devastating than isolation and rejection. But later, after having to hear and see a bit more, I decided that certain ties weren't worth the pain. The constant doubt and the innocent questions had taken a toll. I had already endured a lifetime of negativity and hate, and I was just sick of any reference to this person's comments, opinions, or fanciful stories. In a moment of panic and indecision, I suddenly cut off communications with my well meaning and kind relative. I never meant to keep my severance eternal, but now, because of a December death, I have suffered this crushing loss. The irony of this is beyond description.
My 2016 derailment was decades in the making, and I think that's true for most of us. But let's just look at the political machine of Hillary Clinton as a strong supporting example. Her rise and fall was due to a combination of bad choices (a server for God's sake) and the false narratives of others (FBI idiot, James Comey). This "witches" brew enabled the largest, self-entitled windbag in the history of America to seize public office, a debacle that is snowballing completely out of control now that he has made several really poor cabinet choices. But let me emphasize the import of all of this; witches brew, windbags, and politics may seem innocuous enough, maybe even a bit benign; however, scholars have proven that slogans, catch-phrases, and nuanced negativity sway public and personal opinions. These cheap tactics are popular because they work.
I am still teasing out my own lessons and realizations from the ruins of 2016. I am in a state of reflection. But I am confident that I will no longer allow the chorus from below to dictate the abakwa from above. With this in mind, if you would allow it, I would like to share one piece of soulful advice from this devastating year. I insist that you look to ducks for inspiration. Yes, ducks.