Looking back on the fourth quarter of the fateful year 2016

Dec 30th, 2016 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief

Campfire 1916 by Tom Thomson

As noted in our review of the first quarter of this fateful year, back some two weeks ago : “The short story about 2016 in the English-speaking global village is just Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump in the USA.”

Brexit was the big surprise of the second quarter. The electoral college victory of Donald Trump was the big surprise of the fourth quarter.

(While Hillary Clinton took more of the popular vote, by a quite dramatic 2.8 million votes — and the “Cook Political Report has shown that just three counties, representing 77,759 voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, determined the outcome of the election” practically.)

We offered our immediate assessment of the Trump surprise in : “Northern lights on US election VI : trying to be positive about democracy in America 2016, as it happens,” Nov 8, by Citizen X ; and “What happened? … without rigged system of the electoral college Trump wouldn’t have won,” Nov 9, by Randall White.

Back in October the same pair of contributors had offered what would later seem relevant reporting with : “This isn’t the first time Donald Trump has pretended to run for President etc …,” Oct 4, by Randall White ; and “Northern lights on US election IV : history will not be kind to FBI’s last-minute Orwellian intervention in 2016,” Oct 31, by Citizen X.

(This last piece began : “FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute intervention in the 2016 US election — regarding certain freshly discovered ‘emails of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were found on a device seized during an unrelated sexting investigation of Anthony Weiner’ — has cast a dark Orwellian shadow over democracy in America in the early 21st century.”)

Meanwhile, we had tried to remember that, whatever happened among the “Yankees to the south of us” (who “must south of us remain”), we still had our own exotic public life in the rising new “free and democratic society” in Canada. And late in October we posted “Maybe new Advisory Board for Senate Appointments in Canada should experiment with selection by lottery too,” Oct 28, by Randall White.

A full month later we counterweights editors ourselves noted : “As much as we want to escape the long arm of Donald Trump in the US (and other) mainstream media during the last lame-duck weeks of 2016, we keep bumping into it all, like it or not.”We expanded briefly on this thought in “Reaction to Justin Trudeau’s Fidel farewell just one early sign of new age of Trump .. well, sort of .. maybe?,” Nov 28, by Counterweights Editors.

This brings us to the current final month in the fateful year 2016. And we will end both this exercise and the soon-to-be old year of 2016 with a further two contributions from the same pair of fourth-quarter contributors noted above.

The first is “Private night thoughts inspired by Stephen Marche on the Obama years, in the Los Angeles Review of Books,” Dec 7, by Randall White.

Early Snow 1916 by Tom Thomson.

The second is “Belatedly discovering Zadie Smith .. and Olbermann’s back : 2016 holiday gifts from the world wide web,” Dec 20, by Citizen X. (And the wise and wily X ended here with a quotation from the culture writer Marta Bausells : “This year needed Zadie Smith. 2016 was crying out for her particular clarity …” Whatever, we’re glad X discovered her for us at last.)

So a very happy new year / bonne année, whoever you are and wherever you may be. And here’s to all of us, in a year when virtually no one remotely sensible seems to be even just pretending to know just what may or may not happen — especially in the United Kingdom and the United States. (And many other places in today’s global village too, including the most northerly part of North America entirely covered by ice 20,000 years ago, now known as Canada).

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