I was really looking forward to meet you. It was the last day of 2015 and it snowed so much in Istanbul, where I was to visit some of my best friends, that we had to give up all of our plans to go out on New Year’s Eve. Instead we stayed at home, ate huge amounts of chocolate and cake, and watched some television show. We went to sleep shortly after midnight only to wake up totally refreshed to and ready for a brand new year.
Since then so many things have happened. It feels like you are one badly-behaved child, even destructive from time to time. You started small. At first things like flights went wrong or all those famous actors and singers dying. And I had three roommates within four months. Even finding my present – third – roommate turned into quite some trouble when at first only the most unsuitable people contacted me, like that Chinese man who didn’t know enough English, but came along with his son to translate – and of course his wife would have moved in, too.
2016, you also need to work on your attitude. I have got the weird feeling that you begrudge me being happy. There were those weeks in spring when everything turned out great for me – until you threw a tantrum and broke my glass slippers. Both of them. In slow motion. Around the same time you enjoyed the Brexit.
Of course you just waited for me to go to Turkey in summer, something I had looked forward to for months. Only then did you raise another political storm and staged an unsuccessful coup. A wave of arrests followed, of censorship and unrest. I had to lie on a beach for three weeks, probably just because you knew how much I wanted to travel around. By now I don’t even want to travel to my beloved Turkey again because the president has long turned into a dictator and things are going very awry. I am scared for my friends there.
In late summer you made me watch how my home state in Germany elected the Alternative for Germany, a rightist party, into the state parliament. % 21 who are rightist, extremist, xenophobic, racist. And don’t even get me started on the other parts of Germany where neo-Nazis set fire to refugee hostels; or on Polish and Hungarian politics; or on all the terrorist attacks all over Europe and the Middle East.
You reached your climax this week, or I hope at least that you won’t go any extra mile. Donald Trump was elected president. Massachusetts is a traditionally Democratic state so that the final result shocked us deeply. All my US-American friends supported Hillary Clinton so that none of us ever expected her not to become president – well until Tuesday around midnight. None of us slept well that night. I saw people crying yesterday, some Americans and several immigrants seriously considering leaving the country, protesters in Boston shouting “You are not my president.” I think after the shock we’ll go numb. I also realized that I don’t know the average US-American. Massachusetts seems to be a little bubble on the East Coast where people are really tolerant towards all groups.
2016, what is wrong with you? Do you not feel loved enough? You seem to go to extremes whenever you can. You don’t only let Trump win the presidency, but you also back him savely up by granting him a Republic majority in both chambers of Congress. But you know we all have to learn how to control our emotions. We are more than just hate and fear. We have brains, too.
Maybe we haven’t shown you enough affection. Maybe you are angry because we didn’t celebrate your birth more appropriately. Maybe you don’t like millennials because you are jealous of all the great years we have had. But, 2016, seriously, please grow out of your defiant phase so that we can soon transition into a calmer, more rational 2017. And I promise I will also work on my cynicism.