It’s hard to remember a year when so many behaved so badly. Starting in January, with Charlotte’s tolling takedown, to New Year’s Eve, with Mariah’s swaggering non-singing, 2016 was a year that is thankfully in the history books. A not-so-fond recap:
In January the Charlotte City Council ignored ten thousand petition signatories and three hours of testimony by dozens of people who obviously didn’t know what they were talking about, and instead voted to strap Lake Normanites into a tolling straight jacket for the rest of their lives.
A couple weeks later the City Council did some non-research into a non-problem and passed a bathroom ordinance based on the feelings and comfort of about four people. In response the legislature called a special session and passed HB2, a bill that restricts men to the men’s room. Mass hysteria ensued.
The bill so outraged Davidson resident Jane Campbell, a lesbian and Navy veteran, that she began a write-in campaign to put her name on the November ballot for state representative. She gathered enough signatures by the July deadline and then campaigned for equality by coming out against I-77 tolls.
As the legislative short session drew to a close, the Mayors of Davidson and Cornelius traveled to Raleigh disguised as ordinary citizens to convince senate leadership that ruining the most important transportation artery in Lake Norman for the rest of our lives is a good idea. The senate leadership listened to these two Ordinary Citizens (while ignoring thousands of ordinary citizens who emailed and called) and never let the House bill go into committee.
The town boards, irate that two Ordinary Citizens choose Town Day to talk about a town issue in direct opposition to their towns’ position, took swift and decisive action. Cornelius censured their Mayor and called for his resignation. In an unusually harsh move for Davidson, their town board voted to unfriend their Mayor on Facebook.
The presidential primary season kicked off with the deepest, most competent field of Republican candidates ever… which explains why they eventually settled on a reality TV show host with orange hair and a spray-on tan.
Trump’s campaign consisted of ducking out of the tanning booth long enough to insult the entire field and tagging them with school-yard nicknames. Low-Energy Jeb Bush mounted a vigorous counterattack when he said… uhhh… ummm… zzzzz.
Sorry, I nodded off for a minute there.
There was little doubt that Hillary would win the Democratic nomination. She needed a 1,000 delegates and began the campaign with pledges from 999 super delegates. As it turned out she still needed insider help from the DNC to stave off a challenge from a 72-year-old socialist, a fact we would have never learned were it not for a fugitive holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy. She then showed her human side by collapsing in 78-degree heat and hugging a child hours later while she was sick with pneumonia.
Hillary based her campaign on appealing to voters with her frequent flyer status and lifelong commitment to being an Historic Woman. Her campaign spent enough to buy every man, woman and child in the country a Happy Meal, which assured her historic victory.
But I’m getting ahead of things.
Over the summer electoral experts told us that Britain was staying in the EU while apparently forgetting to ask the British. After the Brexit vote those experts paddled across the pond and proceeded to tell Trump voters they might as well stay at home.
Speaking of summer, we were treated to an especially strong performance by the US Olympic team as they swam, tumbled and sprinted their way to a record number of medals while dodging Zika-infected mosquitoes. Some prominent members of the swim team celebrated by breaking the door of a gas station bathroom and peeing in an alley, an embarrassment that would never have happened if Brazil had HB2 on their books. Two months later the state of Florida crop-dusted entire swaths of Miami because a few pregnant women refused to stop having sex with Zika-infected mosquitoes.
Locally, an unbearably long, hot summer came to a close when hundreds of residents showed their concern for the community by looting tractor trailers and lighting bonfires on I-85. In the week that followed an upbeat Mayor Roberts pointed out that Charlotte showed its better nature by only rioting at night. The Charlotte Observer, noting there was only one murder, one journalist dragged into a fire, and one guy beaten to a pulp because of parking-while-white, characterized the evening festivities as “mostly peaceful.”
Football season started and the Panthers promptly lost more games in three weeks than they did all last year. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick caused a national sensation when he protested racial injustice by kneeling in front of a hundred young, black millionaires. Rumor has it that soccer star Megan Rapinoe held a similar protest but those reports remain unconfirmed as no one was there to witness it.
Meanwhile North Carolina’s economy took another body blow over HB2 when Demi Lovato cancelled her concert.
Then came Election Day.
Before we get to that, though, I have a quiz.
Q: What do the Electoral College, Ellen DeGeneres and the Oscars have in common?
Answer in a moment.
As it became clear Trump had locked up the crucial racist-misogynist-homophobe vote, electoral “experts” collectively exploded their heads in a blast reminiscent of Hiroshima. Rachel Maddow assured voters they were awake and not in a nightmare. Martha Radditz warned that compared to Trump, Hitler looked like Mother Theresa. And Van Jones, after careful thought and reflection, concluded Trump won because we’re all racists.
Which leads to the quiz answer. So what do the Electoral College, Ellen and the Oscars have in common? In 2016 they were all accused of being racist.
After the trauma of witnessing a legal presidential election, universities across the country cancelled tests, held scream-ins and handed out therapy puppies to students suffering from post-election stress or anything having to do with Christmas.
Trump immediately made good on his promise to create jobs when thousands of paid protesters flooded the streets in cities where everybody voted for Hillary with the demand that everybody vote for Hillary.
Noted historian Martin Sheen appealed to electors by citing Alexander Hamilton, who apparently wrote that an elector can violate an oath if enough movie stars think it’s a good idea. Speaking of Hamilton, the all-minority cast of the highest-grossing musical on the planet graciously took time out from their curtain call to lecture the Vice President-elect on the evils white privilege. (Okay, that’s not completely accurate. The guy who plays King George III, the only truly bad guy in the whole production, is white.)
(One notable absence from all the protesting was Davidson College. Breaking an annual tradition dating back to when Woodrow Wilson attended, Davidson students decided not disrupt Christmas festivities to raise awareness of their existential threat du jour. Perhaps they were still in scream therapy.)
Finally, Mariah Carey provided a form-fitting end to this forgettable year by strutting around in a sheer one-piece bikini that looked like two hippos wrestling under a blanket while blaming the Russians for hacking her sound system.
So goodbye, 2016, we’ll not miss ye.
Here’s to better behavior in 2017. It can’t get much worse…. Can it?