Shut up about how bad 2016 is. 2017 is gonna be way worse.
It’s semi-infuriating to hear the calendar year talked about as if it’s an existential Etch A Sketch that gets shaken blank the moment the clock hits midnight on January 1, 2017. Sure, 2016 was a shitty year. A lot of beloved celebrities died. A petty autocrat was elected leader of the free world. David Duke, a guy who should be, at best, a historical footnote, has become relevant again. Media outlets who should know better are applauding neo-Nazis on their ability to tie a Windsor knot and fold a pocket square. More than 100 people trying to enjoy a night out with their friends in an LGBT nightclub in Florida were gunned down, and half of them were killed. Black men were spontaneously executed in the streets by public servants who swore to protect and serve them. Near constant terror attacks plagued countries all over the world. The list of events that make 2016 a toilet purgatory goes on and on.
As Ryan Bort of Newsweek pointed out, every year is the worst year. Remember when 2015 was the worst year ever, according to everyone in your Twitter timeline? How about 2014? Here’s the thing: Each year is the sum of hundreds, if not thousands, of years of oppression, class conflict, and geo-political maneuvering. Horrible things are going to happen regardless of the calendar year or whether or not Mercury is in retrograde.
There’s no reason to assume that 2017 will be any better. After all, the first black president, the one who ended the Great Recession he inherited from a glorified frat boy warmonger, will hand the keys of the White House over to a tangerine-hued blowhard who built his political “career” over the racist, baseless movement demanding that a sitting president needs to show his papers to prove his citizenship. Once the Ochre Mussolini actually gets into office on January 20, he plans on immediately rolling back decades of progress.
President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda for his first 100 days in office entails mass deportations, the appointment of a pro-life judge to the Supreme Court, inciting a trade war with China, and repealing the Affordable Care Act, thus threatening the health coverage of 20 million-plus Americans. Compound that last item with the fact that Paul Ryan wants to pilfer the health coverage of the elderly by privatizing Medicare. Dying early may actually be a blessing given how the GOP is angling to cut Social Security and the Trump transition team is installing climate change deniers into the offices responsible for protecting the environment and managing energy resources.
The new administration has a Republican majority Senate and House to back it. There’s no stopping it from implementing truly horrific policies that threaten the financial security, reproductive freedom, and access to healthcare for the average American. But, hey, that’s what happens when a thin-skinned demagogue who lives in a gold palace in the sky turns out to be more loyal to Putin than the working class he claimed to champion. Apparently sometimes you just gotta roll the dice on someone who has literally spent 70 years being out for no one and nothing but himself.
And while we’re staring the down the looming, orange specter of fascism, Europe is dealing with its own rising tide of far-right populists with Marine Le Pen of the National Front party making a strong bid to become the next president of France. After helping to get Trump elected, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has already vowed to start kneecapping the reelection bid of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom The New York Times called “the Liberal West’s Last Defender.” Add that to the fact that Merkel’s battling the far right Alternative for Germany party that is skyrocketing in popularity in influence in the wake of its founding three years ago. Then there are the burgeoning fascist parties in The Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, and Austria. And I haven’t even touched on ISIS or the relentless slaughter of civilians in Syria by the Assad regime yet. Shit is looking bleak.
There’s no reason to believe that 2017 will be anything other than a giant geyser of pus. Same goes for 2018, and so on. The next calendar year is welcome to prove me wrong, but with the rise of fascism, the normalization of racists, and the creeping environmental crisis, there’s already one hell of a deck stacked against it. And it hasn’t even started yet.
Oh, and more icons will die in 2017. That’s just how the passage of time works.