2016 in Review

2016 in Review

By and large, just about everyone -at this time of year- is in agreement that 2016 was a miserable year.  Except possibly Chicago Cubs fans.

Death was the big story this year.  Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Gene Wilder, John Glenn, David Bowie, and that's just the beginning of a very long list.  December kept bringing more names to the list.  The actor who played Father Mulcahey on M*A*S*H, William Christopher, passed away on New Year's Eve.  Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds dying within a day of each other was another December shocker.

The potential death of Democracy as we know it is also a big story in 2016, with Trump coming in as President on January 20th.  Only to very few have I expressed my very dim, dark thoughts on what it seems to me is ahead for the US, and the world order.

What with the Brexit vote in the UK, the rise of the far right throughout so much of the rest of Europe, the economic crisis in India, turmoil in the middle east and much of Africa, life as we know it may be in for big changes.  

Much of the news of the turmoil in Africa, Asian countries, the financial woes throughout India, Greece, Portugal, Spain and many other nations, and the political upheavals aross the globe is not well reported or given coverage in the widespread or common US media.  The press and networks and cable news outlets do not offer information on most of these stories.  There is a valid argument that Europe and North American news is covered, as that is where white people live.  Go elsewhere, and MSM pays less attention to people of other skin colors. 

Or, often, no attention at all.   

Even those deemed lesser interesting white people get less coverage.  The bulls run Pamplona, that's newsworthy.  Lack of money in Spain, crumbling infrastructure? Not worth a story.  Not much news of note, no acts of terror, no major natural disasters, no horrible train accidents or plane crashes, and there's no coverage of Portugal, where the economic crisis looms large in the daily lives of millions of its citizens.

Maybe this is American hubris, having made its way into what some like to call the Liberal Media.  But Fox News isn't covering these stories, either. 

Now we have an incoming president, a Commander-in-Chief who has never held a government job, held office, been in the armed forces, or had to answer to anybody.  He's proposed a cabinet of billionaires and multimillionaires, and generals.  And senior advisers who profess and promote racism, antisemitism, nativism and nationalism.

What happens in countries where a wealthy man rises to power, appoints other people of extreme wealth to government positions of importance, and surrounds himself with army generals? 

And then there's this cozying up to Putin.  This will not end well.

But that's not what I meant to write about in starting this post.  I blog here infrequently, always meaning to post more often.  Life, however, gets in the way. Life this past year, the year that people have been bellyaching about(death, politics, Trump), has been peculiar.

Politics took over the year, it seemed. The Olympics took place, but that sems like a distant, almost irrelevant, memory.  The Cubs  won the World Series, that's a big deal.  But it happened just before the election, so despite the end of the longest championship droughts in sports, the election clouded that as a story of the moment.

And every month there was another death of a statesman, a celebrity, a person of historic note. Or maybe it was every week.

All of that was miserable throughout 2016.

Business was very gratifying this year.  My clients were all wonderful, a pleasure with whom to work.  Some new business came across the transom. In two cases these were headed by people I'd worked with before in different capacities.  It's been great working with them again. One small assignment came out of the blue courtesy of a referral. 

Another business relationship developed thanks to an introduction made by an associate who felt it made sense for the president of a company and me to meet.  That meeting was fruitful and we see good things ahead.

There's one client with whom I speak regularly, an absolute pleasure to work with on a collaborative basis.  She makes my work better, and it is a joy to do the special projects her company brings to me.  These are very challenging and arduous tasks, the kind of assignments from which you learn more than you could imagine.  It makes writing the reports both harder and easier, because so much information emerges in the process.  Harder because there's so much new data to deal with; easier because it is so exciting to report on the findings.

There's also some other ongoing retainer work, spot work (usually other consultants asking for me to pitch in on something) and of course my duties as Executive Director/Board Member of PDEC.  

That was a good part of 2016.

I'm worried about what's ahead on the world stage and domestically.  The next year and the coming four years are of concern.  But, as one friend said to me way back, when W took office, we'll live through it.

I hope he's correct this time, too.

Happy New Year.