2016 — Year of the Suck (and Roadmap to a Cure)


My cat Edward who passed away this year — that sucked.

We’re seven months into 2016 and I wouldn’t blame a soul if your collective assessment of this year is one of the suck.

After all there’s a proverbial cornucopia of waste, loss and stupidity before us that is literally breathtaking:

  • The planet is getting hotter, more CO2, less O2.
  • The worst United States election season in my lifetime.
  • The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.
  • The many nihilistic terrorist attack by ISIS.
  • The endless cycle of gun violence in the United States.
  • The endless cycle of senseless police shootings in the United States…most recently the death of Philando Castile.
  • The irrational murderous attack on police in Dallas.
  • The passing of so many creative icons…and Prince.

And, that’s just the tippy top of the shitberg. Yup, 2016 is turning out to be an awful season for Team Humanity.

So let’s call half-time and retool.

I believe that the line between civil & intellectual discord is being blurred by a barrage of sound-bites provided by folks who have no clue of how to get shit done.

Humans, us, we’re the top of the intellectual brain-chain on this rock. You know what that prize affords our species?

The ability to stretch way beyond our porto-lizard brain stems—Fight/Flight, Good/Bad, Yes/No, Win/Loss, Mine/Yours, My Way/Highway, Happy/Sad, Black/White—binary ways of thinking.

Its time to play smarter if we want to stay in this beautiful game called life.

My grandparents generation were defined by some profound struggles like:

  • The Great Depression
  • World Wars
  • Cold War
  • Racism
  • Sexism

Just to name a few.

Lizard-brain shit that started (some of which continues) because some people were motivated by a political, social or fiscal orthodoxy, usually based out of selfishness and/or fear, that they were better than everyone else (spoiler: they weren’t).

Some of these ideas at that time were so troubling and inflexible — their proponents destroyed almost everything in their path to justify their righteousness — people, buildings, resources and dreams…gone (fuck you fascism).

Fortunately, the sane majority of humanity wised up and worked through these heinous mistakes. They did so not with sound bites, but by rolling up their sleeves, working together and sacrificing greatly as they clawed their way towards a better future (thank you by the way).

Sure, there were pauses (the McCarthy era wasn’t a shining moment), but they learned from their mistakes and made forward progress once again (the Moon Landing was pretty darn cool), knowing that their work was never done. This is the mindset that they passed on to us as it was passed on to them.

Let’s call this social contract leaving things better than they were given.

We’ve made some tremendous strides since the greatest generation handed over the keys. We’ve also had some painful stumbles.

Right now, we’re in the midst of a Grinding the Gearbox event (GGE). We’ve given voice for far too long to those fearful lizard-brain rascals, who desperately want to scurry humanity backwards to a time & place that never existed. The resulting paralysis is distracting us from working together to find sensible solutions to what ails us. So, let’s call this condition The Suck.

The good news is there’s a cure—telling fear to fuck off.

Here’s the deal, life is amazing and beautifully diverse. It’s also messy and awkward. Growth isn’t graceful and doesn’t happen in a straight line. Having the courage to own & learn from our mistakes is what defines if we’re making progress.

A brighter future is a long-term proposition, made out of a healthy mix of patience, wisdom, imagination, curiosity, failure, joy, compromise, optimism, sacrifice, work, forgiveness and love (definitely love) that keeps the lights on.

Most of you, the sane majority, actually give a damn about building a better tomorrow. It’s now time to for us to roll up our sleeves, rally and get shit done. We’ve got five months left to make something decent out of 2016…or at least push us into overtime (2017 has got to be better).

Frankly, the alternative is to hopeless of an option for us to allow.