In just over 5 hours, it is midnight here in Denmark, and the year 2016 will be at an end.
With the end of 2016 comes the end of a great year on the personal level, but a horrible year on the broader scale.
It was a great year for me personally, as I bought a new apartment in a part of Copenhagen that I really wanted to live in. I have lived in the apartment for half a year, and even though it still needs some renovations (a bathroom where I can move around in the shower), it has been great living here.
On top of that, it has been a good year for traveling – I started the year in Australia, and have since then been to:
- Berlin, Germany (twice)
- Dublin, Ireland
- Ghent, Belgium (first time there)
- Venice, Italy
- Tokyo, Japan (first time there)
- Malaga/Marbella, Spain (work conference)
- Chicago, USA
- Springfield, Mo (for Skepticon)
- Orlando, Florida (work conference)
- Florence, Italy (first visit in 30 years)
As someone who loves traveling, experiencing new food, and looking at great art, this has obviously been very enjoyable.
Work-wise, there have been some disappointments, but I still love what I do and love the people I work together with, so there is no real reasons to complain.
On the down side, moving apartments combined with all the traveling, means I have had less time to do stuff in Denmark as I’d have liked. It means I haven’t seen my friends as much as I’d have liked, and that I have had to miss out on some of the Copenhagen Skeptics in the Pub sessions.
But on balance, my year has been a pretty good one on the personal level.
On a more general level, however, the year has been horrible – and here I am not talking about the list of great people who have died this year. Rather, I am talking about the political climate in Denmark and in the rest of the world.
In Denmark, a right-winged single-party government has been in power from mid-2015. This government was dependent on the support of libertarian and far-right, xenophobic parties in the Danish parliament, and thus were busy pandering to those parties (reducing taxes and trying to block refugees and immigrants). A few months ago, the government changed, and included two more parties, including the libertarian party (also a conservative party), making the agenda of the libertarians a part of the government platform.
At the same time, the Danish Social-democratic party seems to try to win votes from the far-right, xenophobic party, by becoming more and more anti-immigrant and xenophobic, which means that even if there is a change in government, it is highly unlikely that the current policies will be rolled back.
Looking more broadly, there is of course Brexit, in which an anti-EU xenophobic block managed to convince enough voters in the UK to vote to leave the EU for the referendum to result in a leave vote. This was done through lying and fear-mongering, and should have had no place in a referendum in a modern democracy, but apparently it did, with disastrous results, in my opinion. My opinion seems to be shared by many people in the UK, including many of those who voted for leaving, so one could hope that a better solution is found in the end.
If the UK (perhaps minus Scotland) leaves the EU, I think the EU has no choice to treat them fairly harshly in the upcoming negotiations, showing that leaving the EU has consequences.
And then there is the US election. What a clusterfuck that was. There were two candidates, one of which was eminently qualified and the other who was unqualified on every level one could think off. Yet, a large portion of the voters took a look at those candidates, and decided to vote for the unqualified one. Due to the setup of the US voting system, this portion was large enough to ensure that that candidate won.
So, Trump is the upcoming US President.
In the time since the election, he has done nothing but create one international crisis after the other, often by the simple act of using Twitter. Well, when I say “nothing”, I obviously don’t mean that – he has also been busy appointing the most unqualified cabinet one could possible imagine; if you can think of someone who would be completely unqualified for a cabinet position, it is highly likely that Trump wants to appoint that person for that position!
Given the fact that the GOP is in complete control of the houses, it also means that the GOP can more or less implement all their policies at will.
The policies that both Trump, and many of the GOP members went to election on, includes things like getting rid of Obamacare, deporting undocumented immigrants, rolling back LGBT rights, reducing taxes for the rich, and creating a register of all Muslims in the US.
In other words, the Trump presidency is going to be horrible for marginalized people of all types.
And here I haven’t even gotten into Trump’s fascist tendencies and the mutual support between him and Putin, which might cause serious problems in Ukraine, the Baltic countries and other former Soviet countries.
So, all in all, 2016 has been a pretty bad year, and will spill over into the years to come.