Was 2016 A Really Bad Year?

There seemed to be a collective sigh of relief as 2016 wound down last Saturday. Good riddance weird and surprisingly awful chunk of time. Thirty-three percent of Americans felt the nation got worse over the course of the year.

The Top Ten news stories of 2016 were:

  1. U.S. election
  2. Brexit
  3. Black men killed by police
  4. Pulse nightclub attack
  5. Worldwide terror attacks
  6. Attacks on police
  7. Democratic Party email leaks
  8. Syria
  9. Supreme Court
  10. Hilary Clinton’s email

I didn’t find any fell-good stories in the list, but news stories usually trend negative. The presidential campaign and election obviously had a way of surprising and souring people. It was long, ugly, and called into the question the integrity of both our way of campaigning and electing a president. It also further revealed just how huge the divide is in our country. I found it exasperating to see how defensive and mean spirited people were in the battle between the two most unpopular candidates in modern history. Now the prevalent feelings seem to be doom and gloom, elation for some, and a whole lot of anxiety.

It’s time to get over it. Get over the doom and gloom because your candidate lost. Get over the elation because your candidate won. Get over the demonization of people who have the nerve to disagree with you. Get over the politization of God. He didn’t get Donald Trump elected or keep Hilary out. He is not a Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, or progressive. And He is not on your side. He is God. Get over feeling so righteous. Get over your favorite news source. Get over exaggerating the importance one event or current movement in American history. Our system of government has been amazingly resilient. Get over it and get out of your ghetto of people who agree with you.

We not only need to get over it; we need to get with it. We need to get with continually learning all of the sides and the nuances of an issue before we shoot our mouth off. We need to get with bringing light to an issue and not just heat. We need to get with picking and choosing our positions rather than buying into a package deal. We need to think things through for ourselves, rather than just repeat what we are told. We need to get with people who see things differently. We need to relearn the value of moderation and negotiation to keep us from extreme over reaction and help us to move forward together.

There were some unsettling movements in our country and around the world in 2016. I am not I am not asking anyone to give up on carefully examined personal values. But, please, let’s not fortify the battle lines to fight harder. Let’s fight the real battle by finding ways to work together.

We have to find ways of solving problems that are not dismissive of half of the population. One strategy moves us forward together; the other halts positive momentum and pushes us apart. The new year presents an opportunity to find ways to move past the complaining and move forward together toward improvement.

Image: Public Domain

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is the author of An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith. He encourages independent minded people of faith through his writing, speaking, consulting, and one-on-one relationships.
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