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2016 is not a year we are soon to forget. The choices that were made this year will have some long ranging effects on what the next several years ahead will be. First The United Kingdom voted to remove itself from the European Union, and then there was the small matter of the United States Presidential Election, who would succeed Barack Obama as the 45th President?

And instead of Mother Nature's frightening elements, it was man-made terrorism that became more commonplace this past year. Driving heavy trucks through crowds in Nice, France and Berlin, Germany. Bombs set off in Brussels, Belgium. Gunning down a nightclub full of people in Orlando, Florida. We really need to take stock of what's going on in the world, that there are those intent on causing mayhem and death. Where is this going? Are we headed into a world of anarchy or will there be some semblance of redemption? With refugees fleeing their homelands, trying to find a safe place to be, the question we sincerely have to ask is: does such a place exist?

Along the way, we lost a lot of really famous folks to boot. In just about every discipline there was a giant or two who fell. From the poet of the Sweet Science, Muhammad Ali to the Poet of Brokenness, Leonard Cohen... From the Creator of a Space Oddity, David Bowie to the last of the Original 7 NASA Astronauts, John Glenn... From First Lady, Nancy Reagan to Identical Cousin, Patty Duke... From "Life in the Fast Lane" co-writer, Glenn Frey to "Little Red Corvette" driver, Prince... From the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro to the head of "Arnie's Army," Arnold Palmer... From Brady matriarch, Florence Henderson to Wonka patriarch, Gene Wilder... From The Beatles' George Martin to Wham!'s George Michael, from Attorney General Janet Reno to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, From Holocaust survivor and author, Elie Weisel to To Kill a Mockingbird scribe, Harper Lee, and the daughter and mother movie icons, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds... to name just a few of the people who aren't joining us in 2017.

Back around LJ, the terrific low_delta and cynnerth were visiting NYC and they were nice enough to invite me along for a little get together where they treated me to dinner at Highlands, an authentic Scottish restaurant. Extremely tasty and the Whisky only added to the greatness of it! I got to return the favor, a little, by taking them to Serendipity3 for Frrrozen Hot Chocolates during an unseasonably cool and breezy May evening.

I actually had my busiest travel year since I started this journal in 2001. I got to Dallas in June, where I braved the under construction highways, visited the Texas Book Depository (O.A.A.), Got to see a Rangers game before they move into a newer swankier ballpark and caught a glimpse of the massive UFO that is referred to as AT&T Stadium. I didn't get to live out my "Lidsville" dreams, but I did at least see Six Flags Over Texas from my rental car windshield.

Then in September-October, I got to travel to the West Coast where I met up with several LJ users, including the always wonderful serendipity when I was in the Bay area, next the joyous and patient theda when I made my first ever stop in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, where I suggested we each write an entry on each other's journals, and a person who has since become very much in demand, marieoroumania while I attended TwitchCon in San Diego. She's one of the top people over at Snopes.com and since my visit has dealt with a lot of "fake news" and personal attacks from people that want to claim Snopes is playing partisan with facts. Wish her all the luck you can for this year!

Meanwhile, I managed to squeeze in 4 more baseball games at four different venues, AT&T Park (not to be confused with the sprawling Texas sports venue) in San Francisco, Safeco Field, where there were 10 Blue Jays fans for every Mariner fan for that game in Seattle, Dodger Stadium, where it was Vin Scully's retirement night, and then Petco Park in San Diego, where it was Dick Enberg's retirement night. I got to attend several TV show tapings including "The Late Late Show with James Corden," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Price Is Right." And I took a writing seminar at UCLA that I feel is really useful to my understanding of creating better and more compelling stories.

Speaking of writing, we're finally coming back to the issue at hand, my entries here in LiveJournal during the past year.

The third most popular entry was titled Terrorism, and Why It Never Works on July 11. Admittedly, this made the list primarily because of a back and forth I had with herwonderfulday who blasted me for being nonsensical and idealistic and for offering up no solution to what clearly is something that needs a solid response. My point of bringing it up at all (this was in the wake of the Orlando shootings a month earlier and just three days before the Nice truck attack) was in suggesting that terrorism never accomplishes what it hopes to do, so why is it still happening? It's still a question worth asking, maybe now more than ever.

At number 2, it was Twitter Expansion from January 7. Another compare and contrast LiveJournal to a different (and currently more popular) social media site, in this case, twitter. My thinking was that if there was more traffic, if more people are using the service, that would safeguard all of our journals on the internet to cherish and enjoy for as long as the internet is the way to do such stuff. Just as sure as music recordings went from cylinders, to 78s, to LP records, to 8 Tracks and audio cassettes, to CDs to MP3s and to the cloud which hosts everything, it's possible that we won't be working from computer screens and keyboards someday. Will we still be able to access what we want from our past lives via our Online Journals?

And this year's Number One Entry was a special case: it was LJ Idol X - Week [0] - Meeting The New Boss on November 9. Now, normally I exempt all entries that are associated with therealljidol because I feel that is a somewhat separate entity from the norm. But I allowed this for two reasons. First, this was a "pre Idol" entry, written the week before the competition began, and second, it fit a typical thinkpost, and I probably would have written this with or without Idol.

I often say that thinkpost entries aren't "know-posts." In fact, I really changed my assessment about the key factor in the election after letting some time pass and looking carefully at both the results and the history: Hillary is a woman and she lost states where "women's roles" are not as free as they are in other locations. I welcome a debate if you don't agree, but as far as I can see, the biggest determining element in how the vote went had nothing to do with the alleged "Crooked" acts that Hillary was accused of, or the health crisis that was getting a lot of play during the summer, or even the Russian hack. No. It was the fact that a brilliant woman still isn't good enough to beat the most flawed man we may have seen in any Presidential race in states that swung the election the other way.

In politics, sexism is even stronger and more powerful than racism, or at least that's the conclusion I came to after living with the results for a while. After all, black men were granted the vote in 1870. That's a half-century before the first woman could legally cast a ballot, just as one piece of evidence to demonstrate how women are viewed in this area.

Still, we are underway with 2017! We are going to stay as focused on what we need to do. We are going to work on the elements that will help us accomplish what we want. We are going to be supportive, be kind, be responsive, because we can... and even if we might have to quickly abandon LJ for Dreamwidth, that shouldn't change anything except the URL.

Have your best 2017, ever!!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:11 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! We made your yearly review! And Serendipity too. :)

Happy New Year, Dean. May you have a fantastic 2017!
Jan. 2nd, 2017 09:44 pm (UTC)
You two were among the definite bright spots of the year! Good wishes for a Sweet '17!
Jan. 2nd, 2017 10:46 pm (UTC)
I'm honored to be mentioned (and in such good company) in your LJ! It was wonderful to see you again. I'm glad to hear that your travels - especially the writing class - went so well for you.

As for the election, although I agree that sexism had a huge role, I also believe that Hillary is too entrenched in old-school party politics at a time when people of all ages and backgrounds seek more of an independent. That's why Bernie, a non-religious Jewish "democratic socialist," did as well as he did. I predict we'll elect a woman long before a non-religious (let alone agnostic or atheist) male.

Looking forward to reading much more from you in the coming year!
Jan. 3rd, 2017 03:39 am (UTC)
Thanks, as always Seren, and for taking time to meet me and for the coffee, and the drinks and chat! It was only about a season ago but it feels like a year's worth of stuff has happened since then.

I didn't come to my feeling about sexism being the biggest and most important element of the election as a snap judgment, though. It's really based on history, and on the perception in the areas that mattered.

Sexism and racism are two elements that have helped to keep the Status Quo and certainly there is a desire for those that have power to retain as much of that power for as long as they can. If that means needing to lie to people, if it means demeaning other viable candidates, if it means creating an atmosphere that suggests that there are extenuating circumstances, so be it.

And looking through the history of politics, sexism is so much more strong than even racism, it's really like the "all boys club" that allows men to stay in control in a much bigger way.

I know you understand, we have never really analyzed this issues as a society. Yes we've had a couple of "Women's Movements," and we have talked about "The Glass Ceiling" and we understand that there is a problem with equal pay for equal work, and the bulk of these issues. Sexism hasn't been clearly laid out; it's still in great part, undefined.

Additionally, because sexism, very much like racism, is a deep and psychological part of how we have been trained, as a matter of course to allow those with Status Quo power to retain it, it's difficult to root out, to separate from standard logical thinking... and because we want to believe that we aren't "bad" people who support racism and sexism, we find other justifications for it... like Hillary's "old school party" politics. Sure, that would make sense if you view it from one perspective, but what of those elements impacted her campaign? And would all the criticisms of her have been so readily believed if she were a man? And wouldn't the mountain of criticism of the Republican nominee have been taken more seriously if he weren't running against a woman?

I am going out on a limb here, but to me, it is the element that mattered, and the only element that changed everything.

Until we actually come to terms with issues like sexism and racism, we are going to continue to deal with them, and when it comes to leading the country, this election proves that we would rather elect someone who knows nothing about how government works, as long as he has a penis, than a woman who was fully prepared to take the office.

When will we have our national conversation about sexism and racism? Not in the next four years, that's for sure. We're going to be too busy stopping the shutdown of Planned Parenthood and the possible repeal of Roe v. Wade, among a host of issues suggested by the President-elect when out on the campaign trail. So... I guess we'll see where this goes!
Jan. 3rd, 2017 04:40 am (UTC)
I'm sure you didn't arrive at this conclusion via snap judgment! You're a deep thinker, and I'm sure you deliberated on this for some time. You may very well be right that sexism was the primary factor. It definitely does go deep and hasn't been truly addressed/analyzed. As you noted, historically, strides against racism have been taken prior to similar strides against sexism. I'm just still not convinced that it wasn't a duality or triumverate of causes - the 3rd cause being the rise of fake news and Trump's use of Twitter to engage the deluded masses. I'm just not sure that had he been running against a man (say, Bernie Sanders - or even a moderate Democrat) he would necessarily have lost the election. Regardless, we sure do have a hella lotta work to do.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 10:35 pm (UTC)
I like that you're idealistic.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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