If one spends too much time online or tuning into the news in any format, one might well conclude the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It doesn’t matter where you look, everyone, everywhere is in crisis. Economists always remind us that markets are “skittish” and blame this or that crisis. For a while now it seems the markets are frozen in absolute terror.
I’ve been alive for sixty-six years now, and from the moment I started watching Walter Cronkite, Douglas Edwards and Huntley and Brinkley, I can tell you that the world has been awash in problems. It’s probably not worse today than before, but thanks to the Internet, we’re all aware of not only the news but everyone’s reaction to it every moment we’re online!
The country I’m currently a guest in is winding up its second year of a military dictatorship, who are arresting anyone who speaks up against this Sunday’s constitutional referendum vote. Fortunately, no one wants to hear my opinion on how they should run their country, and I’m smart enough not to offer one, or else I too could be taken away to the nearest military base for “attitude adjustment.” Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, seems to be insane and a man of shockingly low character. This is probably not really a novel development, but it seems to be, for I see his picture a thousand times a day as I scroll through Facebook.
The notion that the United States is exceptionally good, well-managed or offers a better life to its residents than most countries, seems to have lost its place in the sun. A couple of hours on Facebook and I’m convinced Uncle Sam is a demented lonely old guy living alone in a refrigerator box down near the railroad tracks. His striped trousers smell like pee and he keeps telling the same story over and over again, mumbling and then howling, his raspy voice lost in the traffic noise.
I’d like to think that this is all a “healing crisis.” The world is actually improving. Things are getting better. Chronic problems are coming to a head and being resolved. We’re all learning the true nature of what we would rather avoid looking at. The Truth is not always pretty, but at least you can do something about problems once you’ve faced them. Ignoring them or pretending them away leads you to places of real despair.
So don’t freak out! Don’t even waste a moment being sad or fearful. All this is just as it should be. We’re working it out, perhaps not elegantly or suavely, but these seemingly intractable problems are getting fixed.