When I was very young and the United States was deep in the Cold War, Americans were led to believe that we would probably all perish in a horrible nucleur exchange with the Soviet Union. Ideology was more important than life, so practice your tuck and rolls and get ready.
As the world situation calmed down a bit and we all began to feel a little optimistic, along came Aids. Initially the press told us this would be the big one. I can remember commentators telling us that half the world would be dead within a decade.
While Aids is certainly a scourge, when it didn’t kill most of us we needed another boogie man. The new century became a good candidate. When the clock hits 12:01 am in the year 2000 get ready for a global meltdown. Computers will crash, governments will fail, stoplights will quit working, the doors to the the grocery will somehow be locked forever. Even I ran out and bought a generator and stocked up on food.
When the switch to the new century proved to be a non-event, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 gave our government and the press the opportunity to really scare us again. Wild-eyed, crazy bands of Arabs were going to blow up our airplanes and shopping malls, and mail us all poison. Nine years later we have blindly accepted this as fact, and allowed our lives to be altered with silly and demeaning security that robs us of our rights.
But now we have a litany of catastrophies to choose from that may mean the end of mankind. If the terrrorists don’t kill us, The Swine Flu might. Get ready to starve in the streets in our massive global financial breakdown. And no matter what, we won’t escape global warming.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of living under a constant cloud of impending doom. What is it about mankind that makes us embrace the bad while negating the good; our Death Wish? Many of the above were and are situations that require the right action, but the real lesson of man is that we overcome and thrive. We have beat global conflicts, diseases, financial meltdowns, and catastrophic environmental conditions in the past, and I think our record will continue.
One of the lessons of Obama is the luxurious feeling of optimism. For the first time in years, people have started to feel a little optimistic. Proud to be humans and Americans. Optimism spurs progress. If you feel confident there will be a future, then you work to make it better.
But unfortunately optimism doesn’t sell much advertising. Our press loves doomsday scenarios. It glues people to the screen and gets them to buy papers, so our media is filled with angry and misinformed commentators predicting the worst. They are “little boys that cry wolf”, but with no price to pay. When one disaster fails to materialize, they just find another.
I plan to ignore them. Certainly I will take the proper precautions that anyone should take, but life is better if you concentrate on all the wonderful things around us, instead of focusing on the worst that could happen.