Crosby, Stills and Nash sang:
“Just a song before I go
To whom it may concern
Traveling twice the speed of sound
It’s easy to get burned”
Simon and Grafunkel added:
“Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy”
In our 24 x 7 world of social media and pseudo and real news sources that tell us what to think, everything seems like a problem of urgency. Isn’t this horrible and we must act? Part of this is very real, as in this big world, something bad is happening somewhere. Since “if it bleeds, it leads” or is there is conflict between sparring legislators, it makes the news.
Good news stories do get reported, but in inverse proportion to their occurrence. The good news stories are far more common and everyday, but are not deemed newsworthy. I recall a silly example on a music show called “Where are they now?” which usually highlights a band that had success, then fell apart. They filmed one on the group Kansas, but it never aired. Why? The band members were all living normal lives, so it was not titillating.
Yet, the other part of these pervasive bad news stories, which can be tragic and dispiriting, is the news that needs to be talked about, but does not get much coverage. Here are a few.
- We have a global fresh water problem that is only being made worse by climate change.
- That climate change problem is no longer a future event – it is brandishing its fangs now with more wildfires, droughts and stalled weather patterns, along with more intense hurricanes and tornados.
- On the good news side, renewable energy is growing at a rapid rate now that cost of production is economical and fossil fuel companies are being held more to account by shareholders and judges..
- There is a poverty and hunger problem in the US and abroad. Too many Americans go to bed hungry. Too many Americans live beneath or at paycheck to paycheck.
- The US has a huge debt and deficit burden that was already bad before the pandemic relief and tax cuts – now it is far worse, with interest cost becoming an increasing part of the budget.
These issues don’t get talked about enough. Even on the better news stations, the focus is way too much on which political party benefits from an issue. The issue itself gets less reporting than who benefits. In fact, wedge issues are seized to beat the other party over the head with, even if the problem has been around for years. I have long grown weary of problems not being addressed, because of optics. Do something.
But, back to CS&N and Simon and Garfunkel, let’s also balance all of this with the good stuff that is going on every day. I recognize there are too many folks that are wound way too tight. They seem looking for a fight if some thing or some person makes them do something. Get over it. The world does not revolve around you. If you have to wear a mask to get in some place, then you know what you need to do.
Yet, we should endeavor to leave all of our encounters on a better footing. Somewhere in some book I read, some guy called this rule golden. Something like treat others like you want to be treated. Now, that is something to evangelize.