2016 has been a heartless bastard in terms of celebrity deaths. The year started out innocently enough with the passing of David Bowie on January 10th. From there, it gradually snowballed into 12 months of notable necrology. The departures included household names like Nancy Reagan, Merle Haggard, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe, Pat Summitt, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Janet Reno, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, and Alan Thicke.
We yelled at 2016 for being a relentless jerk, but in reality, we as a society became the relentless jerks. While we bemoaned the deaths of people we’d never met, we became more vicious toward the people we actually knew. We lost the ability to civilly disagree with one another. In short, we became more hateful.
Hate knows no boundaries. It flows from both the high class and the low brow, the God-fearing and the godless, the dirt poor and the filthy rich. This year, I witnessed hate not only from people known for intolerance, but also from good-hearted individuals who had previously earned my respect and admiration. Maybe hate is so abundant because anyone can do it.
Obviously, the bulk of this year’s hate was politically-charged. One side was characterized as antiquated, gun-toting racists who cite the word of God as validation for prejudice. The other side was labeled as gay-agenda socialists who run to their safe spaces and cry bloody murder anytime they feel the least bit offended. These descriptions are clearly exaggerated, but good luck telling that to someone who believes that they’re always 100% right and their opponent is always 100% wrong. When you paint the other side as “the enemy,” the willingness to compromise goes right out the window. That’s why we have so much hate; we’re stubborn. We all want to fix our nation, but we’re too bullheaded to work together toward a common solution. How easily you forget that your country is also someone else’s country, too.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of the hate. I’ve stopped watching the news because someone’s always mad at someone else. And every time I go on Facebook, I can always count on somebody to spray hatred like a hippo splattering poo.
How do we deal with all this hatred? Well, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, there’s a piece of advice from the Bible that I think we can all get behind. It’s only three words long and it’s easy to follow:
Love one another.
Let me say it again in case you missed it the first time:
Love. One. Another.
Now is the perfect time to start, right in the midst of Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus. This is something we all can do. There are no excuses. I just want the hateful B.S. to go away… or at the very least, I want 2016’s elephant mountain of B.S. to shrivel into a manageable rabbit pellet of B.S. in 2017.
I don’t care about your political leanings or who you voted for in November. Each one of you has a mind, a heart, and a conscience. That’s all you need to do what’s right and love one another. Join me in making 2017 a year to be proud of. Gene Wilder would’ve wanted it that way. He was cool like that.