2016: A Look Back
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2016: A Look Back

Shifts, surprise, and sadness

2016: A Look Back

During a year in which we saw multiple situations unfold, it is certain that we had different lenses of vision for those events. But in other instances, the country came together in unity. America together witnessed unprecedented political movements, varying cultural battles of violence, and the mortality of some of our greatness heroes.

Legends Come and Gone

It started with David Bowie and Alan Rickman, two of the world’s greatest pop-rock icons and movie stars respectively. But unfortunately, the trend did not ch-ch-change as the year moved forward. By the end of February, we lost rock star Glenn Frye, award-winning author Harper Lee, and influential Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. On March 6, Nancy Reagan, wife of former president Ronald Reagan and social activist, also passed away. In April, legendary singer and songwriter Prince died unexpectedly.

By the beginning of the summer, we had also lost 60 Minutes mainstay Morley Safer and worldwide boxing champion Muhammad Ali. The Sports world also lost “Mr. Hockey” (Gordie Howe) on June 10th and women’s basketball coach and pioneer Pat Summit on June 28th. Hollywood lost Oscar-winning director Michael Cimino and heroine Noel Neill at the start of July. Gene Wilder, beloved actor and personality, died on August 28. Greta Friedman, the iconic face of victory in World War II died September 8th.

th when young Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez passed away in a boating accident. The next day, the sports world lost an older athlete when golf legend Arnold Palmer died. Another hero of old, astronaut John Glenn died on December eighth, two weeks after villain of old, Cuban leader and tyrant Fidel Castro. Sports telecast personality Craig Sager died on December 15th. Zsa Zsa Gabor, darling of Green Acres, died on the 18th. However, the most shocking of them all was the death of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher and the subsequent passing of her mother, Singin’ in the Rain’s Debbie Reynolds.

Though belonging to several parts of politics, culture, and society, these heroes all leave a significant whole in the lives of their families, friends, and our entire culture.

Turmoil at Home and Abroad

Police shootings, public massacres, terror attacks and violence of all kinds plagued our world in 2016. From trucks in Nice, France to neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, lives were lost and tragedy was imminent. Our European friends abroad in Belgium, Germany, and France were victims of radical jihadist terrorism, the hatefl and distorted view of an otherwise peaceful religion that, in addition, claimed domestic lives in Orlando and San Bernardino. The attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was the worst mass shooting in American history and the deadliest incident since 9/11, killed in a hate crime for their sexual orientation – a despicable act.

Similarly, the attack on police officers by rioters in Dallas in July was the deadliest incident against law enforcement since 9/11. In 2016, 64 officers in total were murdered by knives or firearms while in the line of duty. This is the highest rate in five years. Likewise, there were almost 800 homicides in Chicago.

The wide spanning terror and violence has led to social action of all sorts, from protest groups to policy initiatives. But the argument about whose lives matter more is superficial to our entire country’s need for peace. As we try to move on from the divisive and violent society we find ourselves in, let us remember what brings us together rather than what brings us apart.

A Political Movement

Ironically, this responsibility was even harder during the most intense political cycle of our lifetimes. Whether it’s a barrage of email scandals or the labeling those we disagree with as Nazis, 2016 sure did teach the American people how nasty a presidential campaign can be. It’s very telling when a candidate’s most desirable trait is that they’re not the other one.

But in the end, Donald Trump won the presidency by tapping into the anger and neglect felt around the country against the political elites by members of the working class. His message was heard from coast to coast by Americans who were left behind by outsourcing jobs, low economic growth, and from bureaucrats in Washington. Perhaps all along, the President-elect felt like an underdog, considering the amount of Republican primary candidates and the power of the Clinton machine. Though despite losing the popular vote, Trump won a landslide in the Electoral College, winning states that Republicans hadn’t won in years. Clearly, there was a steadfast political movement that many were unaware of, at least at first.

However, the upcoming Trump presidency leaves many of his opponents in a state of question, whether it be controversial Cabinet appointments or refusals to perform at his inauguration. What will he do with Russia? What will he do with Israel? Will there actually be a wall? Many of these will be answered soon in 2017.

But one thing is for certain, don’t call millions of people deplorable and don’t disregard the state of Wisconsin.


Overall, 2016 was a year of shifts, surprise, and sadness. Not many people would’ve believed you a year ago if you told them the Cubs would win the World Series, Trump would be President-elect, and sliced bread would still be the greatest thing.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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