Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Upsetting times on a worldwide scale

I don't know if I am over-empathizing or it's the season or the knowledge that in a few days we will begin the long trek back to Oregon, but two nights ago I woke up worrying and feeling highly stressed. It was at least an hour and a half before I went back to sleep and that after taking an anti-anxiety med. 

My problem is if I stay informed, I know about so much that I cannot impact. The latest horror for me was the Sydney lone wolf terrorist. Anybody can walk into a coffee shop in a nice district. How do you protect yourself or your loved ones from those who have failed at their lives, grown violent, and want to make a name for themselves? You cannot is the simple answer.

Then waking up this morning to learn of the horror that befell another school-- this time in Pakistan. Children beheaded, a teacher burned alive in front of them-- all because the children were getting an education. There is no doubt that education is the evil to those of radical persuasions and it's not just Muslims.  

Muslims are afraid they will be blamed for what these extremists do. Except are these Muslims speaking out against the atrocities? Are they afraid? Do some secretly think it's okay or even good? When we don't speak out against clearly evil deeds, are we not in some ways part of the problem? How do we speak out if we aren't informed? See how it's a Catch-22?

The question I have is should I quit being informed? Do I need to know about the marches against the police in our country which are claiming blacks are being unfairly murdered in the supposed line of duty? Do I need to know about the big storms in California and Indonesia (that one leading to more deaths by mud slides)? Do I need to know about Bill Cosby's latest accuser? How about the senseless murders of family members when a woman wants to leave her husband or boyfriend? How about that the Senate and House agreed to trade land, that is considered sacred to the Apache, to a foreign company (Australian this time) for more copper mining? This one gets me about like the XL pipeline-- where the chickens have come home to roost and we are the new third world country where other nations profit from our resources.

I am a fast reader and absorb a lot of information-- some because as a writer, it's good to understand human nature. Except I am not sure that I want to understand human nature right now. Can I bear what it is like in too many cases? Like that 51% of Americans approve of the torture that Bush and Cheney did during their time in power. 58% think it kept us safer. 

Mark Twain said it well, 'It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.'

Worse, those who have believed a lie get mad at the one who tries to explain actual facts. They have the truth they want and Rush told them it was true. 

So here we are in this country defending torture when our ex-President has to avoid traveling overseas as he could be arrested. Keep in mind being the leader of a country that breaks international laws can end up in court-- thinking back to WWII...

I got a surprise when I read about Barbra Walters  interviewing one of the Koch brothers and he said he was a social liberal but a fiscal conservative. Hence he supports all fiscal conservatives but he doesn't let their social views enter into it. He then favors freedom of choice on abortion but will be giving money to someone who supports personhood that would criminalize abortion. He has let one of his set of values overrule the others-- and it's about what's good for him. I tend to often support people also where I don't agree with all their values but it's based on what I believe is fair whether it impacts my life or not. Should we only vote our own self-interests? Back to-- should we be informed?

For a long time I have wondered who we are as a people? I don't think the answer is clear but it is getting closer to seeing something a lot of us would rather deny about a large percentage of this country. I am sure the same experience happened in Germany as the Nazis slowly took over. The water gets hotter and hotter and you don't realize you are being cooked until it's too late.

The problem is we just don't know who is behind what is happening but we do know it's not hard to fool people when you flatter them along the way.


Celia said...

I wake thinking about what is going to happen to my children and grandchildren and all yours as well. I keep getting the "something evil this way comes," thoughts. I'd like to do something positive but am frustrated as to what and how.

Some days I have to turn it/news off but I can't live my life blind.

Anonymous said...

Julie said,

The issue I have with back-to-back tragic headlines is that the media wrings the blood out of a story until it is no longer useful to the advertisers' purse strings. Then the story is pushed to the back burner and sometimes forgotten about.

Taking a break from news sources for a day or two and turning to something inspirational helps me. Each person has his or her own definition of what inspires.

Rain Trueax said...

I agree, Julie. That's why I don't watch the news much anymore. It's much easier to read it than see it. And Celia, I feel the same fear. It's not about whether it happens to me but to my family. Recently our son's family had an auto accident, one of those things on ice. The way it happened, they were none of them hurt and yet we hear over and over of the same story but it ends tragically. We can't fix it though by worrying; so have to release it. It's not easy.

Ingineer66 said...

You could try to turn off the outside world, but I don't think you could do it for long. At least I can't. Sometimes I cut back for a while, but I don't really let it get to me. Other than a few minutes of the local station at 6:00am I don't watch TV news. That helps reduce the sensationalism, but there is very little integrity in most so called journalism today.

The attack in Australia is very scary as that could spread to the U.S. At least here there is a slight chance an off duty cop or somebody else might be carrying a pistol that could shoot the attacker before they killed or killed many. But in Australia hand guns are illegal so not likely there.

Do you think Obama will have to watch where he travels after he leaves office with the NSA spying on foreign heads of state such as Germany?

And your new system does not let me type from my iPad. I had to compose my comment on the notepad and paste it here.

Rain Trueax said...

Ack. I don't have a new system; so must be blogger. :( And any past leader will have that problem. IF Obama okayed torture, yeah, him too.

Rain Trueax said...

The spying though, not so much as frankly, they ALL spy :)

Ingineer66 said...

And like magic it seems to work again. Maybe it was some glitch on their part or who knows.

Anonymous said...

Julie said,

Glad to read that people are choosing to limit their exposure to headline exploitation by turning off television news. Being aware of news that directly affects us or finding solutions to problems makes sense. In the book The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron suggests taking a week off from television, radio, internet, etc. Eeek! Not sure if I could tune out for that long.

Rain Trueax said...

I agree, Julie. We should be informed to what impacts our lives but when it gets disturbing, back off for awhile. The latest cultural issue involves race, the police and the communities. Figuring out the truth of this given the many contradictory examples has me shaking my head. Our country does need to figure it out though as this could impact our daily lives.

Anonymous said...

Julie said,

Where I live, we really rely on the police to keep a lid local drug gang shootings. As you can imagine, I don't like to hear anti-cop propaganda.

Wishing you and your family a great holiday together.

Rain Trueax said...

I don't like how some talk down the police as though they are all bad and that anarchy is the answer. I believe in law and order and if the laws are wrong, fix them, don't blame the police for the lawMs you don't like. It does not mean some officers have not stepped over the line and done wrong. I did not believe that was the case with Ferguson and the death in NYC looked like a health issue. If the officer had been choking him, he could not have said he could not breathe. On the other hand, did they show compassion? Was the loose cigarette law good? To me, we need to support our law officers

Anonymous said...

Julie said,

The reason I think Martin Luther King, Jr. is inspiring is because, from behind a pulpit, he taught a whole nation how change laws and how to make things better.

Kindness matters.