Ten Reasons Why You Should be Thankful for 2016

Ten Reasons Why You Should be Thankful for 2016

Thought 2016 was a year to forget? These events may make you want to think again.
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we only have around seven weeks until 2016 is over, one could sense relief that this wild, overwhelming, and putrid year is about to come to an end. From a presidential election which takes out the worst from those in 1968 and 2000 and then some, to multiple beloved stars dying; from a deadlocked Syrian Civil War with a refugee crisis leaving governments and civilians alike debating whether to take in more, to attacks from Nice to Ankara; combined with the apocalyptic/false stories heard on social media, one may want to forget mentioning 2016 when discussing the story of their life.

However, this article was not meant to wallow in things such as rigging and Brexit or any other tragedy which made 2016 so suboptimal. Instead, with Thanksgiving coming up, here are some things we should be thankful for this year.

1. 2016 is now the warmest year on record:

On the surface, this is not a good thing. On the other hand, this is a recognition that global warming is indeed happening and therefore, we must implore our communities and our governments around the world to take meaningful action to combat this phenomenon. This is also important because CO2 emissions also crossed the 400 ppm threshold; if these don’t suggest human-afflicted climate change is something that needs improving on, nothing can.

2. Bernie Sanders’ candidacy

And the overwhelming enthusiasm that several millennials I’ve observed towards his candidacy. With policies ranging from debt-free college to increased taxation on the wealthy, this is a platform more progressive than the Democratic party has seen. Even though he would lose the race to the nomination, he is bound to take a leading role in the Democratic party for the next four years.

3. Third Parties

Namely, the Green and Libertarian parties, represented by Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential election. While they didn’t get that many votes, their alternative points of view forced most of us to reconsider our points of views and think about building alternative parties to the Democrats and the Republicans.

4. The Rio Olympics

Prior to the games, we’ve heard about the myriad of problems the city of Rio de Janiero had to combat, ranging from dirty waters to political corruption. Even though they would continue to fester during and after the games, with Dilma Rousseff impeached sometime after, we’ve had a bunch of amazing moments. From a creative opening ceremony featuring parkour and a message about climate change (see #1), to seeing the exploits of the old guard and the new alike, while it didn’t transcend the controversy, it still provided for good television. Who wouldn't want to watch the Olympics?

5. The impossible made possible

No, not in election and referendum results, but rather, in the sports realm outside the Olympics. From Leicester City’s defying 5000/1 odds to win the Premier League title (and with two games to spare, no less!), to the city of Cleveland finally having a sports title from the Cavaliers (despite going down 3-1 to the Warriors, who are phenomenal all by themselves), these surprise sports stories can make a young child, or a championship deprived-team, dream again. That one day, that could be them holding the trophy.

6. Hamilton and its power to inspire

While the Broadway musical premiered in 2015, it has quickly caught on as a national phenomenon. And it caught the Tonys on fire as well, getting nominated for sixteen and won eleven. Personally, I haven’t been obsessed with it, but looking through the lyrics of the songs and listening to “Cabinet Battle #1” several times, I could understand why it became special. I honestly hope for the day I could watch it, and to see more diverse casts in all shows as well.

7. The History of Japan

Also known as Bill Wurtz’s guide to 40,000 years of Japanese history crammed into nine minutes. It’s beautiful and funny and charming and awesome. And a good way to learn your history while not having it so dry. If you haven’t watched it, now may be a good time.

8. The iPhone 7

For some, it recognizes our eternal need for a headphone jack. For others, it recognizes the relief of not having wires on their earphones. And for people not like me, it makes them all relieved they don’t have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

9. Humorous Commentators and Late Night Skits

I remember when I watched John Oliver’s discussion of Donald Trump on a clip from “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”. I found it online, but it was humorous and informative all at once. Along with many more commentators, this was a shift from us “listening to politicians and laughing at comedians” to vice versa, which seems bad, until you could see some truth in those words.And those Saturday Night Live cold opens featuring Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton were classic; though I know some people will point out many more commentaries about the election and more.But that last one before the election, where Baldwin and McKinnon break character and run around New York City? Classic and beautiful and heartwarming.

10. Millenials (That's Us!)

Even though our favorite stars have died, it doesn’t mean there can’t be any more. We have so much at our disposal: technology to write stories and make videos and share with audiences and take commentary and ignore haters peeping out from the cracks.

Not only for entertainment, but also for social activism. The past year also had further emergence of police brutality against black people; with every new post and share, we also recognize this, along with further instances of how this is not a post-racial society yet.

Overall, 2016 may be a bad year, but as we consider the next seven weeks and into 2017, the future, and some of the past, might be a bit brighter. But it’s up to use to make those decisions everyday to wake up and make every year a year to smile about.

Cover Image Credit: Kiplinger

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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