It feels like 2016 thumped us up a bit. Okay, maybe a lot. The last 12 months dealt us record-setting climate events, terrorist attacks that rocked our collective souls and an unprecedented presidential election. And that is just for starters. As we put the year to bed, Weekly Alibi takes a couple of parting glances back at the year’s top stories. This week we take a global view of some of the top stories that made the news and changed our world.
International politics gave the world a shock when Britain voted to leave the European Union. “Brexit,” as it was dubbed, foreshadowed the anti-globalization, protectionist and right-leaning shift felt not only across Europe, but also here at home, where such politics would spawn unprecedented divisiveness in the 2016 presidential election.
Former-Democrat, current-Republican career-opportunist and life-long fast-talker Donald Trump rallied troops from those unhappy with an increasingly intertwined global technology and economy; expressions of that vitriol were encouraged at a majority of his campaign stops. Chants of “Lock her up” aimed at Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton drowned out her hopes to be the first female president overriding many decades of liberal, progressive, societal and legal evolution, even though the FBI admitted—two days before the election—that there was no evidence to change the Bureau’s previous conclusion that Clinton should not face charges. This aspect of the election, coupled with the Clinton campaign being blindsided by Russia’s involvement in email leaks, spelled doom for the Democrats. Despite losing the popular vote by about three million ballots, Donald Trump was propelled to an electoral college victory by voters in the Rust Belt. Putin, big oil and big capitalism appear to be the big winners in 2016.
“Fake news” blew up, growing into a global menace after conquering and dominating decades of right-wing talk radio and tabloid-type publications—
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died. Following his untimely demise, a Republican-
Terror trembled around the globe with the horror of the relentless massacres in Syria, as well as terrorist attacks worldwide, including in cities such as Brussels, Istanbul, Nice, Chelsea, Berlin and Munich. Suicide bombers also continued their terror in Middle Eastern countries. Stunning us here at home on our own turf, hell broke loose at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Fla., when a lone terrorist shot 49 people, injuring another 53.
On the streets across the country, 940 people had fatal encounters with the police in 2016. This violence affected the police directly too; they came under fire with tragic results in Dallas, Texas. In that case, a military veteran killed five police officers. For the first time, police used a robot equipped with a bomb to kill the suspect.
Record-setting heat, cold, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, inferno fires and rising tides made it clear our climate is indeed changing. The year 2016 may well beat out 2015 as the record warmest year in recorded history. This year NASA scientists predict that in a matter of decades the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summer. An adviser to Donald Trump recently proposed a shut down protocol for the space agency’s continued study of our planet.
A couple of bright spots in the year’s environmental news included the date—Nov. 4, 2016—when the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement went into effect. The landmark agreement is intended to reduce global greenhouse emissions. Another bright piece of news was the order from the Obama administration that effectively halted the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline while another route in considered. Obama flexed his Earth muscles a bit more by banning oil drilling in parts of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
The list of bright humans who passed on out of this universe include troubadours Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, George Michael, Greg Lake, Keith Emerson, Bobby Vee, Ralph Stanley, Merle Haggard, George Martin, Paul Kantner, Glen Frey and many others. Gwen Ifill left journalists worldwide with one less icon to reach toward. Muhammad Ali, a great athlete—and perhaps more importantly, an artful arbiter who had a profound influence on American culture—left us “to dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee” as we proceed into the future.
The top, happy stories of the year go to the Chicago Cubs, who—finally, after 108 years of being cursed—won the World Series, and the medical and recreational marijuana measures that won big. California, Nevada and Massachusetts legalized recreational use. Florida, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota okayed cannabis for medical purposes. A marijuana initiative lost in Arizona, and Maine is doing a recount of a very close win margin in that state’s cannabis election.
Next week,Weekly Alibi takes a look at how 2016 treated New Mexico and the city of Albuquerque as the year roared through our lives.