2016: Year in Review (Partial)

By Sam Tarr

December 18 2016: The Massasoit Tribune

Well, let’s be honest with ourselves. Unless you were overcome with a powerful urge to “make America great again,” 2016 was a drag.

 In a lot of ways, it was just like any other year, the ups and downs, hits and misses. But it seemed that in this year all the swirling unpleasantness in an increasingly tense world came in all-caps with a big orange exclamation point, eclipsing any minor triumph.

So as 2016 slithers towards the merciful finish, let’s take an obligatory look back at the year that was.

It’s instinctive, it seems, when facing the end of an objectively bogus year, to operate on a plane of denial. It’s understandable, nobody wants to pad their life’s score with negative years. Surely it wasn’t as bad as it seems.

That being said, there were some pretty great things that happened this year.

Massasoit has been soldiering on this year, celebrating its 50th anniversary. On September 14th students and faculty stood formation, representing a giant “50.” Celebrations continued with the 50th Anniversary Gala, and more events still to come all the way through next semester.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts, so there was that.

On November 8th, one of the several minor victories was the passing of ballot initiative, Question 4. The motion passed by a narrow margin, and was put into effect on December 15th. MA joins states like Colorado, Washington, and Alaska in a growing trend nationally.

What else do we have, well on the 4th of July, NASA’s Juno spacecraft began orbiting Jupiter.

On August 27th, Juno completed its first of 36 planned orbit around the planet. Getting as close as 2,500 miles from the clouds of Jupiter, Juno has already began sending images back to Earth. Here are some of the early images, including stunning pictures of Jupiter’s north pole.

Also, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Dylan, awarded for “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” was the first American to win the prize since Toni Morrison did in 1993. For weeks Dylan did not respond to the news of the awards, later acknowledging it. Citing previous commitments, the singer/songwriter did not attend the presentation

A prepared speech was read at the ceremony by the American ambassador to Sweden. Patti Smith also performed a song. Dylan’s behavior in regards to the award, has been regarded as everything from “rude and arrogant,” to “subversively humble.”  

On December 13th, outgoing President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act. The $1.8 billion dollar bill aims at tackling the opioid epidemic, increasing care and research for mental health and cancer research.

Part of the bill was renamed the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot,” after Vice President Joe Biden’s son. Beau Biden died earlier last year of a brain tumor at the age of 46.

Also, in another rare instance of coming together, China and the US both ratified their participation in the Paris Agreement to fight climate change.

Late last year 195 countries met and signed on to the agreement. Now that the US and China, the countries with the largest about of global warming emissions, have ratified, more than 60% of global emissions are under the agreement to cut carbon.

So, like all years, gleams of light will break through. The canary in the coal mine for this year, may well have been right at the beginning.

On January 10th, shockwaves, starting in the music world were sent throughout the world with the death of David Bowie. The legendary musician passed at the age of 69, after battling cancer. The prolific songwriter and inspirational performer, also acted in a slew of movies including Labyrinth, The Last Temptation of Christ, andThe Prestige.

There was no shortage of high profile deaths in 2016. Iconic songwriter Leonard Cohen, Prince,  Muhammad Ali, and Fidel Castro, all passed away this year.

Loss was one of the themes of this brutal year. As controversial and beloved figures were shuffling off this mortal coil, it was the anger percolating throughout the world that defined the tumultuous 2016.

In Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff was impeached. The move was very controversial being referred to a “kind of soft coup,” by MIT Professor Noam Chomsky.

President Michel Temer, an unpopular figure who is under investigation himself took power. Temer “had never considered” attending the Chapecoense memorial service, leading some to suggest he was fearing boos, similar to what he received at the Rio Olympics.

The memorial was for the team, who’s majority died in a tragic plane crash in December.

Over in Europe, England shocked the world with its vote to leave the European Union. “Brexit” as it was dubbed, stunned, leading to the resignation of David Cameron, British Prime Minister. Coming off a campaign built on scapegoating immigrants and stoking fears, it created great uncertainty.

After the vote, “what is ‘Brexit’” and “what is the EU,” began trending on google across the UK.

At home tensions were rising as well.

More cases of unarmed black men being shot and killed by police arose. “Black Lives Matter,” protests took the streets again. Terence Crutcher, Sylville Smith, and  Philando Castile were just three of the high profile cases this year.

Philando Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car at the time of the shooting, said that Castile told the officer he had a firearm. Diamond Reynolds, said in the video of the aftermath, that Castile had a permit for the firearm and was reaching for his wallet when the officer shot and killed him.

Protests broke out across the country in response to the fatal shootings. The majority of protests were peaceful, but one in Dallas left 5 police officers dead after it was marred by a lone sniper, who fired on officers. Military veteran and gunman Micah Johnson, was killed after a standoff with police.

Frustration was breaking out throughout the US. From the emergence of hate groups, fiery campaign rhetoric, and

The ongoing civil war in Syria continued to rage on. A human face was put to the atrocity after a video of a dust and blood-covered child. It brought revived attention from a nation becoming increasingly disconnected from the overseas stalemate.

All of these events, including Philippine President…..[content lost] 

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