For many, the new year is a prime opportunity to move on from the past, wipe the slate clean, and start anew. But sometimes, that's impossible. Some things return to haunt us, time and time again, regardless of the calendar year. There are plenty of awful facts of life that don't go away simply because the earth has completed another revolution around the sun, and a lot of the infuriating, depressing, and downright absurd nonsense that's filled the headlines throughout the year will be just as prevalent next year. No matter what the next year holds, there are a couple of terrible news events that we'll still have to deal with in 2016.
One of the most common criticisms of the 24-hour news cycle is that it forces media networks to devote just the bare minimum of attention to any given story before moving on to the next one, depriving viewers and readers of long-term perspective. There's a lot of validity to that, and yet some stories are immune to this impermanence. They pop up in the news, predictably and regularly, then fade — only to return again. Like the villain in an '80s slasher film, or a car alarm in the middle of the night, these news stories simply. will. not. die. Here are a couple that you can expect to see a lot more of in 2016:
The Syrian Civil War
In my five years as a news blogger, I have rarely gone more than a few months without writing about the Syrian civil war. The conflict originated amidst the Arab Spring protests in 2011, has steadily deteriorated since then, and as of this writing, it's claimed more than 200,000 lives. The rise of ISIS — which was partially enabled by the fighting in Syria — has only made the conflict more bloody, complicated, and geopolitically intractable.
If there's a solution to the Syrian civil war, no one has thought of it yet. Expect this one to drag on for a lot longer.
It's certainly possible that Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination for president. He's been leading in the polls for several months straight, and nothing he says or does appears capable of diminishing that lead. It would be foolish to assume, as so many pundits have, that his collapse is inevitable.
But let's not kid ourselves: Even if Trump doesn't receive the nomination, he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. He'll still be a constant media presence, as he has been for many years, and will pipe in on the 2016 race at every opportunity. It goes without saying that whichever Republican does receive the nomination will be regularly criticized by Trump every time they make a misstep on the campaign trail.
In 2013, America averaged one mass shooting a day. That's a crisis of endemic proportions, and the problem has only gotten worse: Now, mass shootings happen more than once a day in the U.S. It's become the status quo, and the country, as a whole, has done little to nothing to change it. The frequency of mass shootings in America is a worldwide anomaly. Stricter gun control laws could help, but Congress hasn't enacted any — not even after the Sandy Hook massacre — and unfortunately, it's not likely to do so any time during an election year.
Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton
Let's go out on a limb and assume that Clinton receives the Democratic presidential nomination. If that's the case, she'll most certainly be subject to the same kind of sexist attacks that she's faced for, well, the entirety of her public career.
Of course, times are constantly a-changing, and thankfully, that sort of crude, bigoted rhetoric is not not accepted in the way that it was 20 years ago. But a lot of people still haven't gotten the memo, and aren't likely to any time soon.
George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. Ever since then, he's appeared in headlines regularly, every single year. Usually, it's because a woman he's romantically involved with has accused him of threatening her in some way or another, though Zimmerman occasionally breaks this pattern and threatens somebody else. Most recently, Zimmerman received attention for posting what appeared to be "revenge porn" of his ex-girlfriend on Twitter, which promptly got him banned from Twitter.
It's been said that only two things in life are guaranteed: Death and taxes. It's about time we add "George Zimmerman being an asshole" to that list.