The massacre at Parkland High in Florida was a punch to the gut that pulled our nation into sadness and anger. With the overwhelming number of media and Internet outlets we now have the ability to find all forms of depressing stories that only heighten fear and visions of social decline. No wonder Americans have a dismal view of the future and often see the nation as going in the wrong direction.
For those who are watching, the evening news is perhaps the main culprit as “bad” news is wrapped in that tired phrase Breaking News. Every fire, every robbery, every shooting, every murder, every cruelty, every sick creature gets top billing. Occasionally, there is a human interest story to warm the hearts but it usually is placed at the end of a telecast well after all the mayhem.
Well here is some alternative Breaking News – all is not lost and our lives are actually showing signs of improvement and renewal. Besides the good economic and stock market numbers which are cause for joy there are other numbers both here and around the world that are worth mentioning, but never seem to make the news. No matter what the naysayers claim, crime and especially violent crime is way down; deaths from the common killers like cancer and heart disease have been substantially reduced; the push for gender equality is now on the move and likely to change the face of employment; the terrorist threat looks like it has run its course, and our children are smarter (IQs up by 30 points in the last 100 years) and more adept at taking on the world than at any time in history. The arrival of artificial intelligence and all other forms of technological change that will improve our lives will be in the hands of our kids.
Sure the pictures from Syria are heart-breaking, race relations are at the very least troubling, mental illness and drugs are rampant, and too often we just don’t seem to get along. But every problem we face as a nation is fixable, even in this time of partisan gridlock and a national leadership that is satisfied to just kick the can down the road.
It is highly unlikely that what we see and believe about our nation will change anytime soon; media ratings thrive on controversy and evil deeds; fear has replaced faith as a guiding value; and too many of those in power are reluctant to take a chance on change. One can only hope that the Millennial Generation and the so-called Z Generation will usher in a new era of seeing the good in people and not being risk averse. What have we got to lose if we embrace the good news.