We’re all inhaling a collective deep breath readying to exhale a heartfelt goodbye to 2016. This time, on December 31st at midnight as we sing Auld Lang Syne, it will mean more than it has in past years. This has definitely been a year to forget in so many ways.
Conversely, I will remember certain events of 2016 in a fond way: although the Cleveland Indians didn’t win the World Series, at least the Chicago Cubs finally did. I grew up down the turnpike from Cleveland and was happy to see them once again get into the championship series.
On other fronts, the growth in creative—oftentimes internationally-sourced—content on Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services has been impressive. In addition to my entertainment choices being emboldened this past year, the economy overall has remained solid. The past 8 years of President Obama have righted the ship from that scary sense of being on a sinking Titanic—which is how I viscerally felt back in 2008.
The big pain felt this past year was due to losing something once a cornerstone of humankind: truth. Abject falsehoods embraced; recurring reminders of Joseph Goebbels and Orwell’s 1984; a shocking denial that news needs to be based in reality; fake stories widely read and actually believed this past year—all sent chills down my spine over and over. On a weekly basis, I would shake my head and repeat this year’s mantra: are people actually believing this? Can they be that gullible … is our education system and its training on critical thought really that abysmal?
The shock has worn off. The proof is in: people, on average, no longer wonder if something is really true … they believe what is posted on the Internet without deliberation. And that’s sad.
However, Facebook, Checkology and others are working on it … claiming efforts to take back truth. We’ll see. For 2017, we can only hope it becomes “the year of the return of truth.” For the time being, where veracity is concerned in light of 2016, we’ll take comfort in the last lines of the tune: And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne. Indeed.