The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
The year 2016 will go down in Internet history as one of the most intensely split years in American history. In the same year that news organizations broadcasted Omran Daqneesh’s stunned figure in the back of an Aleppo ambulance, Men’s Fitness released “The Ultimate Training Guide for Pokemon GO Players.” In the same year that police sprayed Standing Rock protesters with fire hoses for protecting their land, the enduring effort was rewarded in the end, as pipeline plans were halted by the federal government.
After becoming a meme sensation, “Damn Daniel” was given a lifetime supply of Vans, which he donated.
Then there are the just-plain-weird parts of 2016. The Cubs AND the Cavs won, breaking droughts of 108 and 52 years respectively. The world’s first hedgehog cafe opened in Japan. Brexit passed at 52 percent.
At Miami, Greg and Renate Crawford joined the the family and immediately began proposing changes to promote diversity, energy efficiency and inclusivity. We swapped one active president for another, switching out Hodge’s morning runs for Crawford’s daily bike rides. Fake news and conspiracy theories led Edgar Welch to barging into Comet Ping Pong with an assault-style rifle to rescue children allegedly trapped in the back of the pizza place, ready to be sold into the sex trade by Hillary Clinton.
And, of course, the same year Miami got a new president, America elected a new one.
Perhaps the most defining aspect of this year was the presidential race, with both candidates lighting a fire beneath the American people, igniting a kind of desperation that America has never seen. President-elect Trump surprised everyone except himself when he won the election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign marked the closest a woman has ever gotten to the Oval Office and now, in the final days of what millennials naively call the craziest year ever, 2017 looms as one of the more unpredictable years in recent memory.
When we return to campus at the end of January, Barack Obama will have lost his lame-duck status and surrendered his eight-year run as POTUS to President-elect Trump. By then, Trump will have assembled his cabinet. Whether he will have permanently altered our country remains to be seen.
A lot remains to be seen. With this dumbfounding year coming to a close, we can’t really rule anything out. We can’t be sure that a relative of Harambe won’t be killed. We can’t predict the next sports drought that will come to an end. Hell, we can’t even be certain that Bernie Sanders won’t run again for the presidency.
Yet, by embracing Obama’s old campaign slogan, we can cross our fingers and hope for the best in 2017. We can hope for the further success of animal species threatened by human activity, such as the tiger, whose world population is on the rise. We can hope for more medical advances as we await to see the first ever head transplant to be performed by Italian surgeon Sergio Canavera in 2017. And we can hope for even more woman to join Tammy Duckworth, Mazie Hirono, Kamala Harris and Catherine Cortez Masto to represent women of color in politics.
More than hope, though, we can act. Of course, it’s all too naive to hope that our community unites and comes together amid polarizing beliefs. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t try to hear out the opposition, to — at the very least — start a dialogue.
This year has seen issues with media outlets accused of being out of touch with millions of working-class Americans. In perhaps the oddest election in recent memory, the issue of how politics is covered has become almost as big of an issue as politics itself.
These topics suggest deep divisions within the American electorate, but this is a problem that can only be resolved with increased understanding. It is still good to talk, but we have to make sure that we listen as well. If people can rally around these goals, we can all start the new year fresh.