Shall we talk about the year just past? 2016 was many things, but boring wasn’t among them.
The big story – nay, the yuuuuge story of the year, of course, was The Donald’s surprising and unexpected election victory, handily beating out Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I for the keys to the Imperial Mansion. And I use the term ‘unexpected’ advisedly, as I went to my rack the evening of Election Day expecting (sadly) to wake to the news of the Dowager Empress’s coronation. Instead, I woke to the news of a Trump victory.
The reasons for that victory? Well, there’s been a lot of speculation about that, but I think there are a few that stand out:
- Trump knew exactly what he was doing. He knew his target audience and, in the manner of a master showman, knew precisely how to appeal to them. Thus the shellacking he gave Her Imperial Majesty in some traditionally blue Rust Belt states.
- Her Majesty ran a perfectly awful campaign. She couldn’t be bothered to even appear in several of the aforementioned Rust Belt states; when and where she did appear, she had a hard time amassing more than a few dozen followers – while The Donald was holding rallies with crowds of thousands. She had all the charisma and personal appeal of a stuffed iguana.
- Even though the legacy media was completely in the tank for the Dowager Empress, the touchy-feely coverage wasn’t enough to cover up the fact that the Democrats put forth the most deeply and fundamentally corrupt political figures since Nero. The Donald had some creepy moments, but when creep was placed alongside crook, the American people chose creep.
Still – the election may have been the big political story of the year, but it wasn’t the only one. 2016’s other big hits included:
- The Democratic Party’s doubling down on stupid. After historic losses at the State and Federal level, the Democrats have complete control of only four states; the GOP holds all or part of the State governments in the remaining forty-six states, as well as (starting in January) both the Legislative and Executive branches of government. And still, House Democrats re-install the nearly-fossilized Nancy Pelosi as House Minority leader, and vow to continue the drift to the left that has made them a regional minority party.
- Europe’s descent into a new Dark Age. It hasn’t happened yet, but Europe is well on its way to becoming a Muslim caliphate. 2016 began with the rapes and assaults on German women in Cologne, and ended with a jihadi nutbar driving a truck through a crowded Christkindlmarkt in Berlin. Angela Merkel has promised to double down on stupid as well, insisting that Germany will continue to accept thousands of Middle Eastern refugees without exception.
- North Korea, that failed Stalinist state run by a stunted little gargoyle with bad hair from a long line of stunted little gargoyles with bad hair, launched a rocket into space – technology that could double as an intercontinental missile, one that may even be able to carry one of the paranoid, isolationist country’s nukes.
- Brexit! The people of the UK vote to leave the European Union, in a vote that was the most surprising of the year – until November 8th, when The Donald handily trounced Her Imperial Majesty.
It was a bad year for celebrities, as the year started with the death of Alan Rickman in January and concluded with the death of Carrie Fisher only last Tuesday. But it was a good year for the American folk music scene, with America’s Songwriter Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature – a prize he couldn’t be bothered to accept or even acknowledge.
It was an interesting year, this year just past, yr. obdt’s fifty-fifth on this little blue orb. What can we expect, I wonder, from 2017? Some things to watch:
- The Donald’s remake of the American judiciary. He has one Supreme Court vacancy and a hundred or more Imperial judges to appoint. His Supreme Court pick is expected to replace the departed Antonin Scalia as a reliable Constitutionalist voice on the Court, and one presumes his picks for lower courts will be as well. A Trump Presidency is going to be different in many ways, but his impact on the judiciary may be more influential, more far-reaching and with longer effect than anything else he does.
- More AI, more robots, more self-driving cars and trucks. Technology is increasing at an ever-faster pace. We are now in the third great revolution of Western civilization; there was the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and now the Technological Revolution. It’s going to change everything.
- More jihadi nutcases. Even as the world continues with the Tech Revolution, there are dark forces that seek to drag us back into the 11th century. Look for this clash of civilizations to continue as the West begins to look to leaders with some spine to resist the jihadis.
So, join me in welcoming 2017. Like its predecessor, I suspect it will be anything but dull.