Sunday, January 1, 2017

Was ‘Sweet 16’ of our century really that miserable? Or just the Cubs?

It is a running theme of much commentary these days – the year 2016, to put it mildly, sucked.
TRUMP: Ugh, is all many of us will ever think

One can cite the many celebrity deaths of the year that extend far beyond Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds passing just one day apart, or Zsa Zsa Gabor, Florence Henderson (how can 'Marcia, Marcia, Marcia's' mom be gone?), David Bowie and Prince, along with Muhammad Ali. Or actor William Christopher (of M*A*S*H fame) who died Saturday.

THOSE ARE JUST a few, as in the ones I can recall right off the top of my head as I write this. I’m sure you instantly will remember someone else who has passed and will want to dash off a quickie note to me telling me how stupid I am for forgetting so-and-so.

Those are on top of the 778 homicides that occurred in Chicago, with the likelihood that another two or three people will slip into the total before it becomes absolute. As in 2016 was the bloodiest year on Chicago streets since 1997 – and is becoming too close to the totals we used to achieve back in the late 1980s that we had hoped were absolutely in our past.

And if that isn’t enough, let’s not forget the election of garish real estate developer Donald J. Trump as our nation’s president. The ongoing partisan political nonsense between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, that is rearing its ugly head again now that the interim budget agreement has expired with nothing even close to a long-term agreement.

Or the fact that the Chicago Cubs managed to do something they hadn’t achieved in over a century – winning a World Series. I put those last items on the list even though I’m sure there are some people who will be grossly offended at thinking negatively at those things.

SUCH AS THE 46 percent of the electorate who actually voted for Trump and seriously believe that the nation dodged a bullet by avoiding the concept of “President Hillary R. Clinton” for the next four years.
RAUNER: Not likely to lighten up anytime soon

But I’m inclined to think of the nearly 49 percent who are now seriously disillusioned with our government process – one that could allow someone with 2.86 million fewer votes to actually proclaim himself the winner without the rest of us needing to call for the psychiatrist.

Plus the other 5 percent or so who voted either for a Libertarian or a Green or whatever other fringe name was on the ballot that they thought would make a better commander in chief than either of the major party doofuses.

That’s a lot of people who are going to forever remember this year as the one in which the nation’s electorate got goofy. They’re the ones who can’t help but think that 2017 has potential to be even more stupid because we’ll actually have the presence of a “President Trump” in place – doing his thing, whatever that may well be.
CHRISTOPHER: No longer w/ us

THOSE WHO ARE more rational are the ones who are most scared because we really don’t know what to expect – except that Trump’s idea of “reform” is likely to benefit only those few individuals like himself.

Even the masses who voted for him because they fantasize that their ballot action somehow makes them more like him than the working stiffs they truly are won’t truly get any benefit.

But they will justify their vote in future years because of how horrid they want to believe a second coming of Bill Clinton would have been for the nation.

Although the only thing that would have been horrible about it is if the partisan trash-talk that Bill endured during his two terms in office were repeated for Hillary. It is that partisan trash we as a nation need to rise above. Instead, we rewarded the people who spew it by putting them too firmly in charge.

BUT THERE WILL be differences of opinions about how good, or bad, this truly made 2016.

Which in my mind makes having to endure the Chicago Cubs’ ego trip as the worst aspect of the year – and in future years. Not that I care about denying the Cubs a victory (truthfully, it's about time). But the same Cub fan types who always wanted to talk as though 1969, 1984 and 2003 were truly Cubs championship years (if only they hadn’t been robbed) are now seriously acting as though the next four or five seasons of National League championships are already won.
To those who are Sout' Side in spirit, the scene of the year's low point
They’re buying into the hype to the point where they’re going to be insufferable for all of us to bear with – particularly if the truth turns out to be that 2016 was just a fluke year in between a series of contending St. Louis Cardinals teams and they’ll go back to thinking the whole wide world is supposed to pity them.

Of course, a part of that sentiment stretches from the realization that the only World Series that truly meant anything was the one played some 12 years ago. Now 2005, that was an incredible year!


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