At first, it would seem the world is in worse shape than ever. The US lost its top credit ratings, wars and revolts across the middle-east, famine around the world, murders shooting down kids at Norwegian political camps. London riots, Sharia Law, hotel maids and former IMF chiefs with acronyms as their publicly published names (DSK sounds pretty serial killer-like). Tiger Woods now sucks. Amanda Knox is innocently in an Italian prison, and hackers are going to take your personal info, whether it be from mysterious anonymous groups, WikiLeaks, Asia, or Mr. Rupert Mudoch himself.
What has this world come to one may say? But then, let's think back for a second. Has the world ever been a perfect pretty place filled with sunshine and puppy dogs? Yes, we're going through a more difficult economic time than the 90s, but we need to keep things in context. Things we've gotten through: Vietnam, World War I, World War II, The Civil War, The 60's, Hanson (remember that group?), intense civil rights struggles, women's rights struggles, gay discrimination, the much forgotten Korean War, the assassination of JFK, Apollo 13, The Great Depression, and plague. In the short existence of humanity on this tiny spinning ball in the middle of space, we've overcome some incredible challenges. We've endured hardships, and these things were not easy and of course are not over. But let's be realistic. We're not at a point of bread lines right now. Now iPad lines yes, but people desperately camping outside for the latest gadget isn't the same as one waiting for a loaf of bread to feed a family.
This is not to undermine the struggles of those here in the states suffering unemployment and pay check to pay check difficulties, or the millions globally in utterly horrific conditions. More so, the point worth making is that with fear comes a crippling inability to cope with the problems that exist in a rational way. Our sensationalist media culture, and fast-paced access to it provide fertile ground for faster panics than ever before. You can't walk onto a bus without seeing people glaring at their little screens poking their fingers to see what crazy horrible thing is happening next. Where's the front page headline "Beautiful Leaf Sways in Wind on Tree"?
Right now, everyone wants to point blame. The Tea Party, Obama, Muslims, Israel, FoxNews, China, Putin, Kanye West - apparently he now feels people look at him like Hitler. Even that guy's self-pity is so unimaginably egotistical... But in reality, the problems that exist are just a part of the great chaos that life has had and always had. Name a time period where violence, starvation, and pain and suffering didn't exist? Name a time where we weren't inundated with headlines about it all day long? About 20 years ago. Our internet driven, smart-phone society is driving us either off the road, or into stupidity. We're losing sight not just of the opportunities ahead, but the suffering behind us. In the process, we're veering away from our values, our hopes, our dreams and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that doesn't have to happen. When you look at the amazing advances in technology, the huge human rights obstacles we've overcome. Think about it, as much as you may or may not like the guy we're complaining about Barack HUSSEIN Obama. Most Americans were actually were mature enough to figure out that he wasn't related to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. We're not maybe all THAT dumb after all, and when you watch the riots in London with shops, stores, and cars burning down it makes you rethink just how unruly we are too. Perhaps Americans have gotten a worse rap than we deserve.
Maybe instead of working into a frenzy about a frenzy, it's time to let ourselves launch an International Calm The F*** Down Day.
A day where we just calm down for one day as much as we can. Ponder a bit, reflect, and then the next we can go back to our panicking right on schedule starting with the morning traffic report, wrapping the day up with some nightly news to remind us just how terrible life and everything about is... Maybe except for some baby Panda somewhere, because that's always newsworthy.