2016: The year the grounds shifted

This much is certain. 2016 is a year we will never forget.


From the emergence of “fake news” as a factor in our democracy to the all-too-real tragedy of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, tectonic shifts just kept coming. The vision of those free spirits texting their loved ones as the blaze engulfed the warehouse will haunt us well into 2017.

It wasn’t the first time we were left reeling. No, 2016 was a year – like 1968 or 2001 – in which the country experienced a seismic shift in culture and politics that hardly anybody saw coming.

On Nov. 9, many of us woke up, looked around, and wondered what had happened to the world as we knew it. Some were elated to have elected a President they felt spoke to their concerns about the country’s direction. But here in the deep blue Bay Area, many were devastated.

And it wasn’t just the temblor in November. From the Brexit vote in Great Britain, to the legalization of marijuana in California and three other states, 2016 has been a year of jolts and surprises. And for many it feels like the nation is divided in a way it’s never been, at least not in our lifetime. And it’s not just a generation gap that separates us, but a wide rift in core values and beliefs that won’t be easily bridged.

Moreover, the vitriol that bubbled up during the political campaign has seeped into the relationships between friends and neighbors, leaving many Americans anxious about just who might live next door. The hate-mongering has left people like me, a child of immigrants who has…

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