Another year has come to a close.
The past few years have been one hell of a wild ride. While we often look back at 2020 as the year that the real madness took hold, I personally think that 2016 shought be the one that we really shake our fists at.
If things had gone differently back in 2016, I highly doubt we'd be in the same awful shape we're in right now. At the very least we'd have been better equipped to deal with everything we've had to endure.
2024 isn't likely to offer a reprieve from the nightmare. For starters, it's an election year in the United States.
To those of us who live outside of America, this is still a nail-biter of an event. The United States is a powerhouse on the world stage, and its economy and political situation are both monumentally important to keeping the rest of the world in balance.
We all stand to gain, or to lose, with the election of the next President of the United States.
We're witnessing the setting of a precedent as well, which makes this year especially vital. We will soon find out whether or not an indicted twice-impeached alleged insurrectionist can successfully run for the Presidency again.
After everything that went down through the course of Trump's time in office, and after everything he's done since he lost the last election, you would think people would have come to recognize the danger that he represents.
Some of us have, and yet there are still a shocking number of people who remain willfully ignorant or simply do not care. They want him back anyway.
As a Canadian, the American President has no direct power over me. But y'all are right next door, and many people that I love cannot say the same. They'll be dealing with whatever happens as their lives are governed by whomever holds the country in their grasp.
Some of my loved ones have already told me that they expect to see violence break out this year. They expect to see shootouts and beatings in the streets.
As I write this, I'm sitting on a couch in Connecticut, visiting New England as I do every year. It's a beautiful crisp winter day. Quiet. Peaceful. Serene. It's surreal to hear the tension in the locals' voices, the uncertainty they feel about the near future.
People just don't feel safe anymore.
They remember January 6th, and the attempt to overthrow their government. They're watching evidence and trials and political drama unfold before their eyes as they prepare for their chance to cast their ballots and vote.
I won't be joining them when they do, but I'll definitely be watching. Like the rest of the world, I'll be holding my breath.
In 2016, I spent election day working the counter at the ol' coffee shop. I had the opening shift that day, and even in Canada, there was only one thing on all our minds.
My first morning customer ended our interaction with, "I hope she wins!" as he walked out the door. People waiting for their drinks were chattering about updates, discussing odds and sharing gossip about what they'd heard online.
Would we see the first woman in the Oval Office? Or would the next Commander in Chief be a guy who bragged about grabbing women by their genitals? That's not even counting the concerns about racism and Islamophobia.
The feeling in the air this year is just as weighted, and even more unnerving than before. At least back then we didn't know how bad it could actually get. We just thought Orange Julius was a bit of a buffoon.
We didn't think he genuinely wanted to end democracy. We know better now, and the stakes are so much higher.
On top of all of that, we can expect to see more issues related to climate change. We've already seen unprecedented heatwaves and extreme weather events around the globe, and things are unlikely to be calmer in the future.
Whatever happens, 2024 is going to be a time of upheaval. All we can do is hope that in the long run, we're able to turn things around for the better.