Justice

How 2016 Made People Feel Powerless

The most popular sentiment as 2016 comes to a close seems to be: "glad it's over." From celebrity deaths to political upsets and protests, many people felt overwhelmed by what seemed like an unrelenting year of bad news.
 

It seemed as though we were bombarded by disappointing news all year, with the final effect being a feeling of numb complacency.

Here's one comic that sums up the feeling.

Aleppo comic

Syria is one big issue hit by "The Bystander Effect."

The Bystander Effect is when a person doesn't step up in an emergency situation, believing someone else will intervene — that it's someone else's problem.

The Hollywood Reporter has published a piece by Sam Becker on just this topic: "When Aleppo Retweets Aren't Enough: It's Time to Address the 'Bystander Effect.'"

"We are seeing a disturbing spread of this bystander effect — the idea that with everyone around, one person doesn’t need to do anything because someone else will get around to it," Becker wrote. "We hear it everywhere: 'They’ll handle it.' 'I don’t want to get involved.' 'I don’t want to talk about politics.' 'My donation won’t matter.' 'My single voice can’t make a difference.' 'My vote won’t count.'"

Did voter apathy affect the election?

Voter turnout among Democrats was lower than previous years. As Mike Rothschild of ATTN: wrote, "The reasons for this crash in Democratic turnout have been listed as everything from the weight of 30 years of scandals — both real and imagined — to a lack of outreach to minority voters, to simple apathy and a feeling that individual votes don't matter."

Rothschild concludes there are a multitude of reasons for 2016's low turnout, including voter suppression, but the feeling a single person won't be able to do anything and everything is beyond our control certainly hit many of us this year.

Related: How you can help Aleppo right now.