There is no shortage of opinions floating around the internet regarding 2016, so while you can still stomach them, I'll feed you a few more.
- In 2016 we gave far too little attention to Aleppo and far too much attention to Donald Trump's twitter mentions. Unfortunately by the time videos began surfacing from civilians trapped in the city sending their last goodbyes, Aleppo was already in the clutches of the Syrian government. The U.S. especially will look back on the Syrian Civil War with its head hung, as a shameful time of inaction. (Yes, I fully understand the complexities surrounding Syria, but that didn't stop us in Bosnia or in the Gulf War)
- 2016 was the year principled opposition got a poster boy, and his name is Evan McMullin. If you want the blueprint of how to simultaneously exist within a system, believe in it, and work to correct its many flaws look no further than Evan McMullin. He gives me hope for American politics.
- This year was a reminder that terrorism and gun violence can hit much closer to home than I could have ever imagined. It will be years before I understand the true impact the Pulse tragedy made on my hometown but what I do know in the present is that even in the face of unspeakable evil, community and compassion will always rise above it.
- This year, a certain someone taught me that if you put enough love into your community, put enough of your heart and mind out there for others to see, and knock on about 5 million doors you can make your dreams come true and be a true agent for change in your community and an inspiration to women (and men, too) everywhere. Love you, Sarah.
- Another certain someone made me think harder than anyone else this year, made me re-evaluate my beliefs and define them, was a kind and caring friend for many moments in 2016, and was my guiding light toward grace. Love you, Beth.
- 2016 taught me to never again underestimate anger as a driving force in politics. Let's hope we never see it on this scale again.
- We spent far too much time criticizing and politicizing the information being given to us in 2016, instead of looking inward. Confirmation bias, echo chambers, and group think ruled this year. Not every source is biased. Not all information needs to be filtered for you. The burden is on us as much as it as on the 4th estate. Lose the skepticism and gain more understanding of how information is collected, how to cross reference your own findings, and in general just be more willing to let conclusions find you instead of searching for them.
- Even in defeat, a woman was nominated for President of the United States. Hillary Clinton's campaign was historic. Her concession was pure class. And her achievement will ripple in American politics forever. Little girls now know it's possible. Women everywhere are motivated to run. Her legacy - though complicated - will always be essential when telling the story of women in American government.
- Michelle Obama is my favorite American. She always makes me proud. This year was her finest moment.
- The singular face/name of evil I'd known since I was a little kid, Fidel Castro, died. Nobody should wish death on anyone, but for Cubans and Cuban Americans, we had a right to process this in our own way, and for many who were oppressed by Castro (my great grandfather was jailed by Castro) or families who fled the revolution (both of mine) it was a cathartic day.
- Flint, MI STILL doesn't have clean drinking water. This is disgraceful.
- 2016 was a year that shattered a lot of political norms: the importance of decency, proper use of social media, endorsements, the need for PACs/Super PACs, the importance of debates, the importance of not being a sexual predator, having a favorable view of your country, its military, its institutions, its constitution, etc, a basic understanding of how our government works, the importance of not having conflicts of interest, the importance of facts, trustworthiness. Basically everything you THINK you knew about politics no longer applies. (I'm kidding) (Am I?)
- Things I can do with less of in 2017: Partisanship, Hamilton/Lin Manuel Miranda (I know I'm going to take crap for this, but we've reached critical mass), Talks about "Fake News" "The White Working Class" or hot takes on why the Democrats lost the election, Fox News pretending it's not a mainstream media outlet, liberals calling people racists, conservatives telling liberals to go find a safe spaces, any use of the term "Real America" or "Real Americans," Russian interference in our democracy.
- Things I want more of in 2017: Evan McMullin, as previously stated, Pantsuit Politics followers, nuance, bi-partisanship, legit policy discussions, ingenuity from the Democratic party, criminal justice reform, respectful conversations about race in America, pics of my friends' children, deep Twitter convos, great albums, and recipes for delicious food.
MY BIG 2016 TAKEAWAY: There's still lots of good in this world and this country. I see it every day in this community. I've never been more proud to be a part of something as I am of Pantsuit Politics and I look forward to the continued influence we can bring to the world of politics and people's lives in general. Let's focus on ways to challenge each other, learn from each other, help each other, and work together in 2017. It's been a great year making new friends and I know there's so much more in store for us. Love and hugz - Dante