Some people are always looking for the cloud in the silver lining.
That would not be me.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that mine is not always the sunniest of dispositions. I'm sure I go on a tear from time to time about how messed up something or the other is, but I also know that I don't constantly dwell at the dark end of the street. I couldn't handle it. I would be dead in no time.
I'm not sure if people are "hard-wired" to be negative about everything, or if they're conditioned to see things the way they do. Is it nature, or nurture? Were they born that way, or indoctrinated by parents, teachers, preachers, and/or the media?
In recent years, there has been a huge increase in commentary both on the airwaves and the internet about how much is wrong with the world in general and The United States Of America in particular. So-called "patriots" run their own country down at every opportunity. Satan, evil, and (even worse) immigrants are everywhere. This acidic bathing of cranial cavities can't be good for anybody, only for the bottom lines of those who profit from making others afraid. Many people tune into the Fox "news" network and other similar outlets, seeking truth and affirmation of their fears. They are unhappy, and these "news" sources offer up easy (albeit often false) targets at which they can aim their ire. The problem is that the more they listen, the more miserable they get. The hate and rage is eating them up from the inside out. They would do so much better to take John Prine's advice to "Blow up your TV. Throw away your paper..."
I have never been a big fan of radio, even when I used to receive a paycheck for spinning records on country stations in the southeast. My car has a 6-CD changer and an auxiliary input where I can plug in my iPod. A month or so ago, my CD player got jammed. Six of my favorite, and in some cases virtually irreplaceable, CDs are stuck somewhere behind my dashboard. It might be the best thing that has happened to me recently. I have been using my iPod on a worksite, and I don't always feel like unplugging it from the dock and taking it in the car, so sometimes I would just do without music. My wife had to drive my car to retrieve me from a truck rental place late one Saturday night. She was tired, so she dialed up "American Roots" on the local NPR affiliate to help her stay awake. We listened to it on the way home.
I have since started listening to NPR a lot more. The programming is interesting, and even when they have a story about something bad, they always supply a human interest side, and often propose positive (and realistic) solutions. This morning, I heard a great interview with Alice Cooper. I have heard stories on science, art, history, geography, sociology, and in-depth reporting on national and world news that is quite unlike the sound-bite journalism offered up by the mainstream networks. I got to thinking how much happier some people would be if they had a steady diet of positive and educational input as opposed to one comprised of hatred and vitriol. The sad thing is that the so-called "conservatives" pre-emptively demonized NPR as slanted and untruthful, so the people who could possibly gain the most from listening to it probably never will.
I recently posted a question on Facebook that could have been answered with a simple "yes" or "no"..."Do you think the outcry would have been the same if Kim Davis had been jailed for refusing to issue gun permits as it has been since she was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses?" What a fire (that's the polite word) storm that started! I was immediately inundated with "anchor babies", "Mexican rapists", "that Kenyan Muslim in the White House", "lawless society", "black thugs", and every other Fox Radio buzzword you could think of...most (if not all) of which had absolutely nothing to do with the question at hand. I'd like to say I was surprised. Sadly, I wasn't. The amount of anger in the baggage that those people are carrying around makes me surprised that there aren't more suitcases exploding every day.
I believe I would shrivel up and die if I thought that the world was a place where only evil could thrive. Fortunately, my worldview is quite different...and that's the bright side.
Thanks for looking.