Unless you avoid all news, or maybe live off the grid, you have to be acutely aware of the state of affairs in this country and indeed, the world at large. To say the least, things are not looking too peachy these days and we should all be quite worried.
So you may already be asking how my assessment on the state of the world has anything to do with positivity. If you are, you ask that question at the right time. The answer of course, is that it has everything to do with positive thinking, because no one can truly have positivity until they shine a light on the negativity. Contrary to what some believe, positive thinkers do not live in a state of oblivion or denial. We know the world has some herculean challenges and we aim to help tackle them as best we can — that of course means looking at how we personally contribute to negativity and how we can replace that negative contribution with a positive one.
It starts with you and me
In the last week or so, I’ve made a point of surfing various news sites to get feel for the pulse of the nation and the world as a whole. In doing this, I read some startling headlines/news stories/op-eds that at first made me sad, then mad, and then, in a way, glad. Why glad? Because I realized that to tackle these problems, we just need to look in the mirror — each of us needs to ask “Am I contributing to the woes in the world? What role am I playing in creating negativity/hostility/anger/fear?” This needs to be a true soul searching effort and one has to let go of personal prejudices to come up with the answer. And the answer more often than not, is going to be “yes,” I/you are contributing to the negativity and toxicity that now grips our world, whether we mean to or not.
Politics Is Consuming Us
Politics has gripped the world, and in particular, the U.S., into a mad rage. We’ve become a nation consumed with political news — so much so, that it finds its way into every story, regardless of whether the news event had anything to do with politics. I was reading a story about a major Hollywood star that had absolutely nothing to do with politics and despite this, the comment thread was literally taken over by people raging against, and for, Trump. How on earth did he get involved in a story that never mentioned him, or anything remotely political for that matter? That might seem like a minor thing, but its not, because it proves that we’ve become so divided and so consumed with politics, that we drag it into everything. Its gotten so bad, that most news shows/sites now cover politics more than any other story — how can that be? There are events taking place all around us that we should know about, yet all they report on is politics. This is not good and it really should frighten all of us.
I want to share some of the stories that I came across during my “research” to give you an idea of what is causing me to lose sleep at night. I’ve included a snippet of each story and link directly to the story itself, so please, do take some time to read the full story.
“…It may not be so hard to believe during this murky political landscape, but a new study finds the divide between Democrats and Republicans is the worst it’s ever been, more so than many people may even think.
The research, conducted by Zachary Neal, an associate professor of psychology and global urban studies at Michigan State University, is among the first to measure polarization not only by examining the frequency of parties working together, but also by demonstrating how they’ve grown more distant than any other time in modern history…”
“…In a withering chapter, “Now. . . This,” Postman ridicules the entertainment spectacle that television journalism had quickly become with its musical introductions and interludes, its handsome, well-coifed anchors and reporters, its bubbling chatter.
He argues that television news’ substitution of entertainment for information will have grave import, eventually eroding our very conception of reality and truth. He says, “We have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge, and reality that irrelevance seems to us to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane.”…”
“…Instead, we face something more akin to the combustible climate that historian Christopher Clark described as the origins of World War I. In his book, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” Clark illustrates how none of the great powers wanted war, but all felt free to escalate the buildup in the certainty that the other side would back down.
Something similar is happening here, and our nation could be sleepwalking into a second civil war. Even though justice and fairness prevailed this time, the stained confirmation process must serve as a wake-up alarm…
It’s going to get worse. Virtually every major American institution is being radicalized — or being reshaped by the radicalization of our public lives.
You see this most vividly in politics, where the White House and Congress are often the cause and effect of the radicalization. You now see it in the courts and the Supreme Court, in particular, where a narrow, party-line vote made Brett Kavanaugh the next justice after a nasty, personal political brawl…”
… But perhaps no incident better expressed the protesters’ tenuous hold on sanity than a demonstration at the Supreme Court, where protesters — mostly women — broke through a police line and barged to the Court’s chamber, where they proceeded to wail, gnash teeth, and pound at the doors while Kavanaugh was being sworn in inside….”
A public confrontation between the top diplomats from the U.S. and China showed the rapid deterioration in ties between their countries, as tensions over trade threaten to jeopardize cooperation on North Korea and aggravate longstanding disagreements.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exchanged testy words with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday at a critical moment for U.S.-China relations, with trade negotiations stalled, military talks halted and each side blaming the other for a recent close encounter between their warships in the South China Sea.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet, an international panel of scientists reported Sunday. But they provide little hope the world will rise to the challenge.
The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its gloomy report at a meeting in Incheon, South Korea.
“…Simply said, the last decade has seen those who hold financial assets become richer, as markets have lurched higher; meanwhile those without such assets – the vast majority of the middle class – have been increasingly left behind, however, even as wage growth remained stagnant and indebted governments have struggled to provide strong social support. As a result, a great wave of populism emerged as “issues such as wealth and income inequality have started to polarize societies much more.”…
I chose each of these stories for different reasons
For one, it shows that the U.S. has allowed itself to become dangerously divided by politics. To be blunt, its ridiculous that we have allowed this. Politicians like having us divided, because they want to win elections and they don’t care how they do it — this is why candidates no longer focus on what they can do for us, but rather, focus only on attacking their opponent. We know that foreign agitators are trying to divide us by filling up the web with false stories designed to rile us up…so why are we letting them?
Why are we so obsessed with politics? Why are we becoming so radicalized? Don’t we have anything better in our lives to think about? Does every political story have to be earth-shattering and debated until we come to blows with our neighbors? Sometimes, its just a non-event — its just a minor story and we need to remember that.
Rather than descending into anger and bitterness with our neighbors, shouldn’t we be using our vote to effect change? What good does anger do, when the people we’re yelling at are just regular folks like the rest of us? Use your vote, not your anger. If we’re unhappy with the way things are, we need to contact our Congressperson or Senator and exercise our power of “government for the people, by the people.” But don’t let politics consume every facet of your life, because not only is that hurting us individually, its also doing serious harm to the country and the world.
I also chose these stories because they point to a rapid deterioration in international relations — the U.S seems to be at odds with everyone and that is now spilling over into the rest of the world and international relations are falling apart globally.
Looking at the health of our planet, no one should deny that climate change is a very serious threat. How can you? Look around — everyone is noticing and experiencing the consequences of the change. Yet, some among us have taken what is a science story and made it a political one. The right rejects the threat of climate change simply because Al Gore happened to be the first well-known face of the issue. So because of that, one should deny something that everyone sees and feels is happening, all because of political ideology? Scary.
And finally, the distribution of wealth — how anyone could be okay with such a small percentage having such obscene wealth is mystifying — and particularly so when billions of people on this earth are hungry and barely able to eek out a meager existence.
Have we really become so heartless, that a story about some random politician is more important to us than a child starving to death? Shouldn’t we be talking about how to feed the hungry, save the planet or cure illness?
We’re divided, countries aren’t getting along, the planet’s health is deteriorating and yet, we spend our time and effort bickering about politics.
Focusing on this alarming trend is my way of helping to turn negativity into positivity. Its no secret that in order to have true positivity in our lives, we have to first take away the negativity — the only way that happens is by dragging the problem into the light so we can solve it. I take heart with the knowledge that we will fix things. I believe in the power of good and I believe in the ability of one person to make a positive difference in the world. Let’s commit to starting that healing today, by returning to civility and focusing on whats really important in this world.