We’re in the tail end of June. That means we’re officially halfway through 2016.
From where I’m sitting, 2016 has been a pretty rough year.
Let’s start with the more meaningless bad news from 2016.
In 2016, the following celebrities have died: Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Phife Dawg, Doris Roberts, Prince, Michelle McNamara, Muhammad Ali, Kimbo Slice, Gordie Howe and Christina Grimmie.
These are just the names I recognized.
Celebrities are husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers and mothers. I don’t mean to say their lives were meaningless. All I mean is that I have no personal connection with any of them other than their work.
The celebrity world isn’t the only one that took a hit this year. As I’ve written about repeatedly, the political world is a joke.
Having to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is like choosing between a kick in the pants and salt in the wound.
Trump has done a better job fulfilling negative Republican stereotypes than Alec Baldwin could have ever done on 30 Rock.
Clinton is an empty pantsuit who makes a 4-year old girl in a candy store look resolute in her decisions.
Sure there are other candidates, but it’s not like they’re that great, either.
Libertarian Gary Johnson is decidedly liberal on social issues and doesn’t seem to care much about religious liberty, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein seems to understand economics as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders.
It’s not just presidential politics, however.
As of writing this, the U.S. Senate just recently announced it is giving into fear by requiring companies to label GMOs, although there is no reason based in the scientific method to do so, costing Americans money for absolutely no recognizable health benefit.
We have people running for Congress openly saying we should “make America white again.”
We have Democrats capitalizing on tragedy to get rid of due process in dealing with America’s second amendment. While Democrats are doing this, Republicans are taking advantage of protesting Democrats by passing legislation to help fight against the Zika virus at the expense of Planned Parenthood.
I’m no fan of Planned Parenthood, but why are Republicans only willing to fight Zika if we fight Planned Parenthood in the process.
I could keep going on and talk about Brexit, the Orlando and Viernheim shootings, dead gorillas, child-killing alligators, Supreme Court rulings, BLM bombings and Venezuela's democratic socialism problem.
I could. But I won’t.
All of this ignores personal issues that make 2016 hard for me as an individual. Either my friends, family or I have dealt with a laundry list of issues including but not limited to: divorce, death, infertility, employment and medical expenses.
Like I said, it’s been a tough year.
That’s not to mean everything is bad. Life is almost never all bad.
I don’t pretend to assume because I have had a rough year that everyone has had a bad year.
In fact, I assume 2016 has treated a good many people kindly.
All I’m saying is 2016 has been rough and we still have six months to go. Even if you are having a good year, you have to admit a lot of of crazy stuff has happened in 2016.
I’d love to break out some jalapeno poppers, open a bottle of sparkling cider and declare an early New Year’s Eve.
Unfortunately, I can’t.
So what’s the next best option?
I have one suggestion that I hope will make the next six months better than the previous six months.
Try and help one another out. Just try to support one another in your times of need.
I remember when my stepdad died, a guy my mom and I knew came up to us and told us that if we needed anything to call him.
My mom actually had something she needed done. We had a recliner that was squeaking and we couldn’t figure out why.
Immediately upon my mom making the request, the man said he wouldn’t be able to help because he had a long honey-do list of stuff at home. Fixing the recliner took five minutes at most.
It’s not enough to just offer your prayers when people are experiencing hard times. It’s not enough to say, “call me if you need anything.” You need do something.
Whether it’s 1929, 2007 or 2016, everyone will have a tough year from time to time.
Orlando needs more than prayers.
Our country needs more than empty rhetoric.
Platitudes will not feed the people in Venezuela.
And I realize this column might sound like a bunch of fluffy rhetoric. Maybe it is partially fluff.
My goal, however, is to be better at helping others.
I want to focus more on solutions and less on problems. More on real service and less on the theoretical.
Hopefully we can all do that.
We might not be able to keep another celebrity from dying, but we can certainly make someone’s life better.
If all else fails, we can just enjoy some out-of-season jalapeno poppers.