Goodbye 2016, hello 2017
ELINOR TATUM and HERB BOYD | 12/29/2016, midnight
The year 2016 was supposed to be one that brought about great change to America. It was supposed to be President Obama’s crowning glory, capping off what we must say was a successful eight years in office, despite the continuous fights he had to endure with a Republican Congress that tried to fight him every step of the way.
In 2016, we were ready to welcome the year of the woman. Hillary Clinton was expected to be elected president and we were going to see a woman break the glass ceiling and a new type of leadership in Washington.
We were expecting the Democrats to continue on the path to try to stave off the assault on civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights and gay rights, to say nothing of saving the planet.
This outcome did not occur. And what we got instead is turning people’s stomachs.
We are indeed getting a new type of leadership in Washington, but it is not one we expected, and certainly not one that is welcomed. As 2016 comes to close, with it comes the end to civility in politics, the end to rational thought, the end to real discussion and the breakdown of government. It is the return to bunch of old white men (predominantly) in a room, who happen to be mostly millionaires—sorry, billionaires and a billionairess—who will be the president’s inner circle. The information that comes from the president will be disseminated by tweets, because a news conference is out of the question, and there may be the occasional video. But who knows with a president such as Trump?
The White House for all intent and purposes will move to Trump Tower, and the first lady will be, well, mostly absent from Washington life. She will be raising their son in Manhattan. Rumor has it that they are currently looking at another private school in New York City for Barron to attend, so it may only be summers at the capital, if at all for the first lady and first son.
In addition to all the changes that have occurred politically, we have lost icons and legends: Muhammad Ali, Prince, Gwen Ifill, Sharon Jones, James Alan McPherson, Dr. Roscoe Brown, Jr., Gloria Naylor, Afeni Shakur, Billie Holliday Hayes and Malik Taylor, among many. These heroes and sheroes of our time will be sorely missed. I can’t help but wonder what their commentary on the end of 2016 would be?
So as we say goodbye to 2016, and in some circles good riddance, there is much we can hope for in 2017, but it must start immediately, with massive marches before, during and after the inauguration.
We must not only refuse and reject the incipient fascism that exudes from Trump and his nominees but also begin thinking seriously about the midterm elections and what can be done to bolster the Democratic Party, and the injection of political energy has to be done locally and nationally.
We have to let our elected officials know that we will not be content if they choose to sit on their hands, motivated only by self-interest. Their feet and those hands must be put to the fire of our discontent—to settle for anything less is to expect a peril beyond 2017 and possibly for the next eight years.