Editorial: Good riddance! 5 reasons we WON’T miss 2016

The clock strikes midnight at the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration on Dec. 31, 2015, in New York.  Back then, 2016 was a year full of hope. Now it's the year of Trump, Harambe and Prince's death. (AP file)
The clock strikes midnight at the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration on Dec. 31, 2015, in New York. Back then, 2016 was a year full of hope. Now it's the year of Trump, Harambe and Prince's death. (AP file)

(MEDIA GENERAL) –– It feels like 4:30 p.m. on a Friday. Every fiber of your being is counting down the seconds and minutes. You are mentally and emotionally drained and have nothing left to give. You are spent; ready for reprieve.

2017 can’t get here soon enough.

For so many people, 2016 was a year to forget. It was a year rife with controversy and anger that brought out the worst in us as people. In a lot of ways, 2016 was the worst. And that doesn’t even factor in Prince’s death!

Here are the top five reasons we will NOT miss 2016.

1. Celebrity deaths

The sports world lost a host of legends in 2016, including Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Pat Summit and of course "Mr. Hockey" Gordie Howe, shown here in a 1956 file photo. (AP file)
The sports world lost a host of legends in 2016, including Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Pat Summit and of course “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe, shown here in a 1956 file photo. (AP file)

The celebrity death-wave of 2016 took on a life of its own, and established early that 2016 was going to be a down year. It was kicked off by the shock of losing David Bowie to a hidden cancer battle on Jan. 10. The music world again was thrown for a loop when Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Glenn Frey, front man of the Eagles, died after complications from surgery Jan. 18. And it seemed to roll downhill from there.

Garry Shandling, Gordie Howe, Sharon Jones, Arnold Palmer. The list seems endless. Abe Vigoda ACTUALLY died! Come on, 2016. That was unnecessary.

We lost heroes, too. John Glenn, Elie Wiesel, Gwen Ifill: All people we wanted to hold onto forever, but left in what seemed like a never-ending current of bad news.

2. Fake news

Let’s hope fake news is reaching its nadir. Fake news has been around forever and has taken root in our society thanks to the good ol’ internet. A couple of harmless email forwards were one thing, but Uncle Herb sharing posts from InfoWars every 30 minutes is concerning.

Aside from the role fake news played in this year’s election, it has just cemented an ongoing trend: we as a society are getting less articulate. Fake news is pretty easy to spot if you know how to properly vet information and think critically. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of us these days don’t live up to that standard.

Know your sources, vet your news, be more informed, avoid the echo chamber, reverse the trend of ignorance!

There, was that so hard? Stop making the world worse by sharing stories from topnewz.net or cbs.com.co.

3. Overused memes

I love a good meme as much as the next guy, but there comes a time where we need to let go. We did it with #WINNING. We did it with the Oogachaka Baby. We can do this! I hereby put forth a petition to annually purge ourselves of overused memes.

Let it be known hereto forth that every January 1, we as a society shall cease using a set of memes agreed upon by the International Meme Council. The following memes will be abolished as of Jan. 1, 2017.

1. Harambe

Exhibits A and B. It's time to put Harambe and Crying Jordan to rest. (Credit: Bossip)
Exhibits A and B. It’s time to put Harambe and Crying Jordan to rest. (Credit: Bossip)

Harambe (RIP) was the infamous gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a young boy accidentally fell into his habitat. He now lives on in the heart of social media. He clearly made a lasting impact on our nation’s fraternities, which is why internet doofuses continue to make Harambe memes to get a laugh from their bros. Let Harambe pass on in peace, broseph. Some entrepreneurial monster is making money off of the incident (or at least trying to…) by selling Harambe merchandise — you know, since a gorilla can’t file for rights protection. I hope at least some of those proceeds go to doing something good for gorillas.

2. Crying Jordan

The Harambe memes got annoying. Crying Jordan just ran its course. Clever memers do everything they can to come up with new twists on classic memes, but I think the Crying Jordan well has been tapped dry. The thing debuted in 2012 for crying out loud! Hang it in the rafters and let it go.

3. Delete Your Account

The social media zinger has been around for a long time, but when Hillary Clinton used it on Donald Trump, we all knew it was the end. Let it die with dignity only to be resurrected on VH1’s “I love the 2010s” with hosts Tila Tequila and The Situation.

4. The presidential election

Oh boy, that election was … uh … something. Listen, I have my personal political leanings as much as the next writer. This isn’t a political column, so I’m going to walk the line as best I can by saying this: the 2016 election was exhausting.

Regardless of who you supported, the vitriol stemming from this election cycle bogged down the entire year. The election brought our society to a tipping point of civility, with many people either crossing the line or bowing out of the conversation to avoid a confrontation, which is not how we solve problems or unite as a group of people.

In short, good riddance 2016 election. I’m glad you are behind us.

5. The rise of division

Oh, wait, it isn’t behind us! The fire still rages on!

People still share fake news stories and shoot up a pizza place looking for child sex slaves. Every week, we still see stories of vandals spouting racist nonsense and threatening people based on their race, sexuality and religion. We are falling into an us-against-them culture that threatens to tear apart the fabric of our republic and, as of now, few leaders have emerged to fight to reverse the trend.

We thought it would die down following the election, but it didn’t. The fires stoked in the election cycle continue to burn.

Our country is divided, more so than at any other point in my lifetime. And that, more than anything, might be the legacy of 2016.

Goodbye, 2016. We will not miss you. Let’s hope 2017 takes us in a better direction.