(Don’t Be) Overwhelmed and easily swayed

world newsPeople in Ferguson, Missouri have held hands in unity, but not until after some looted their community. Officials marched in unity with the people, and then the police were militarized again, throwing tear gas at them. One young man was shot by police and it’s a national story; many young men are shot by police and you don’t hear about it.

The news was overwhelmingly terrifying, and divisive, about Gaza, Israel, Hamas, and there was a new terrorist group with the oddly mythic name of Isis. The United States took military action in Iraq (again), and Obama should have done something in Syria a while ago and maybe some of this wouldn’t be happening now.

There are so many problems and Congress is on a weeks-long vacation, after toying around with the power to see if they can impeach the U.S. President or at least repeal “Obamacare”.

Lake Erie had algae that made the water in a major U.S. city undrinkable. Other cities flooded in a matter of hours, due to bad weather. The news had a story about how one in four military families are “food insecure” – that’s right, the military men and women and their children don’t have enough to eat when they get home. That’s after the news about the inhumane practices at the Veterans Administration that had many people literally waiting to die before they got medical care they sought.

There are little stories of the kindness of strangers, or good fortune after hardship. Small online news gatherers and start-ups, trying to spread the word — often with names like “Good News”. National network news try to have a small feature, usually at the end of the show, to demonstrate how wonderful people are — maybe it’s a kid that scored a goal on the hometown team, or someone reunited with someone who helped them years before.

Maybe they show those stories so we don’t completely give up hope. Lots and lots and lots of shows feature people who argue, take sides, and talk about what happened and who’s fault it was. You don’t see a lot of airtime given to discussions about, “OK, now what do we do.”

News is not heartfelt, it is not strategic in the creation of a powerful media that makes a difference.

You have to ask yourself: what is going on here?

Given how horrific and important the new story we started hearing about Isis is, how can it practically drop off the front page, for days and days, while we talk about Ferguson, Missouri? Does that mean we should worry about racial relationships and militarized police now, and not worry so much about terrorists?

What about all the horrific events that are going on right now that we’re not hearing about?

What about all the good, all the potential, all the beauty, and all the creative ingenuity, passion and commitment that longs to come forward?

That’s just silly and unrealistic, I guess we’re left to believe. The options seem to be: You can take part in the debate, or you can give up in resignation. You can vote for the party or leader you think will make a difference (or at least won’t be as bad as the other guy, or so you think) or you can make your point by not voting (or simply not vote because you are resigned to that it won’t make a difference).

We don’t talk about what we can do — or we do give it lip service, and yes, it evokes in us some momentary fleeting hope. But then we remember, it’s like Newtown, where no child will be shot for going to school again, until the NRA or some other mysterious opposition or apathy takes over.

There are great charitable foundations, great individuals, and greatness in each of us. And there is so much we can change by changing our thoughts and the expression we give to them.

It will be so fascinating to see what becomes of us.

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Categories: News, Online, TV

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