Do you remember when poor 2016 was the brutal scapegoat for everyone's misery, heartache, disappointments, and despair? When the dying days of 2016 came to an end as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, many people sighed with relief that the year was over, never to be seen or repeated again. But what was so bad about 2016, and how can one single year be held responsible for the mental demise of an entire civilisation?
As the year reached its peak, a large portion of the Internet declared 2016 one of the worst years ever. From Trump's triumphant election victory to 52% of the British public voting to leave the European Union, 2016 certainly was an eventful year in politics, and depending on which way you swung politically, you were either ecstatically happy or on the verge of suicide. For the weeping Democrats who shed a tear as Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Donald Trump, 2016 was a year they would rather see in the rear-view mirror.
But was it a superstitious, fatalistic inevitability that 2016 was going to bring people such horrendous pain, suffering, and heartbreak? Or was it simply the case that humans go through many life-changing events and occurrences every day that involve numerous emotions and mental states, and that unfortunate mishaps are just part and parcel of that thing called life?
From one of the worst American mass shootings that took place in an Orlando nightclub, which left 50 dead and over 50 wounded, to the tragic killing of a gorilla named Harambe, many people were quick to denounce 2016 as a cursed year.
But was 2016 really star-crossed and jinxed, or was it merely just an unfortunate set of scenarios that made us feel that this was the worst year of all time?
Simply put, a calendar year does not kill people.
People die all the time because people simply die, and for many different reasons. Drug and alcohol overdose, illness, suicide, a victim of murder, or simply old age—many situations or health-related issues contribute to the passing of one’s life; the significance of a year does not.
A year does not predetermine the timing or cause of a person’s death; any logical and intelligent person would know this. Yet still, people went about blaming 2016 for all their mishaps and misery.
It wasn’t 2016’s fault that David Bowie died. Death happens and is part of the cycle of life, plus the British musician was 69 and had liver cancer, a terrible, life-threatening illness.
It wasn’t 2016’s fault that Britain voted to leave the UK. The British public voted to leave the European Union because they wanted to regain their diminished national sovereignty and free themselves from the shackles of unelected Brussels bureaucrats.
It wasn’t 2016’s fault that Donald Trump won the United States election. The American people voted for Trump to make America great again. And many American voters were thrilled that he won the 2016 presidential election. After all, he was going to destroy ISIS, build a great wall around the Mexican southern border, and appoint conservative justices, what wasn’t there to like?
It wasn’t 2016’s fault that Prince, Muhammad Ali, George Michael, Victoria Wood, Gene Wilder, Pete Burns, David Gest, Carrie Fisher, Ronnie Corbett, Sir Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman, and many other public figures died. While it may have seemed that 2016 was a year of mass killings of celebrities in a frenzied celebrity death epidemic, maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that an aging rock star who lived a chaotic, fast-paced life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll had died at the age of 70 in 2016.
Suicide bombings, shooting sprees, and Syrian and Iraqi bloodbaths were not the fault of 2016, nor was it the fault of 2016, because your existence was a miserable cesspool of incompetence and worthiness. Yet people still continued to blame 2016 for their shortcomings and the passing of their beloved and bereaved pop icon. As the clock struck midnight and 2016 came to an end, there was hope that 2017 would bring love, luck, and prosperity and that death would spare their favourite obscure eighties actor, whom they had never given a passing thought of before.
2016 took a bow and made a gracious exit. From politics to pop star deaths, 2016 was an eventful year, to say the very least. But to say that 2016 was the worst year ever in the 4.543 billion years of earth's history is nonsensical, especially when 2020 is still a recent memory for many of us.