After my yoga practice, feeling zen, I warmed my leftover soup and sat in front of my TV to watch the 6pm news, a dated habit from days no longer with us replaced by a 24 hours news cycle. The news was rather sad – more violence, killings, conflicts, and questions with no answers! Being allergic to negativity, I wanted to switch the channel but decided to keep watching.
Pundits talk, give circular and at times contradictory analysis with little context.… Pundits born in the US answering questions about China… Pundits who have never set foot in Egypt telling stories about Egypt. People who have never visited my hometown where I was born tell my story. I’m eager to hear locals tell their own stories about what is happening in their neighbourhoods, but there is less of that and more punditry.
My soup gets cold as my helplessness intensifies. My brain wonders what is happening to my world. Where are all the decent people? The response is more silence. Then I ask myself, what are you doing about it? My response is unsatisfactory more questions – am I so self-absorbed, am I no longer able to see and act beyond myself? I feel better as I give myself a pat on the back for having voted last year guided by my values. It’s a start! I am not fully pleased with this self-assessment, and happily allow myself to get more distracted by the TV.
TV commercials are on, winning my attention, pushing more stuff I don’t need. I, like many of you, have way more stuff than I need. The commercial ends, and more news emerges, political leaders speak, calling each other names, which I have not seen since high school. They are louder and more dogmatic than usual, they describe the world in black and white – bad (them) and good (us). Dogmas are defended in a mindless way, without any respect or serious consideration for the other side. Values such as justice, respect, even basic common decency are not only absent but considered boring and negative! A F-U language seems to draw more appeal, more hip, more excitement than gentle respectful words.
I wonder more and think to myself, “it seems that irrespective of the justice of your cause, if you are weak and helpless, you are F-ed, discounted, ignored, maybe allowed to scream and then renamed an agitator, and maybe even punished more for your agitation. Your cause is no longer the issue, your agitation becomes the issue.” No one seems to care about root causes anymore. The TV spits more sad news and describes a world overflowing with wealth yet the shadow of poverty is spreading faster than ever. Missing is an honest attempt at suggesting solutions, that recognize that we are all in this together, there is no ‘them’ and ‘us’. There is only us!
I finish my soup and now channel surf for something less dramatic, less depressing, and I find a light game show that reduces the heat of the news. I get a txt from a lovely friend asking how my day was and I quickly realize that it is not all bleak. I smile as I recall that my friends are wonderful, they are fair and just, they are generous and caring. None of them would hurt a fly and if I needed them, I know at least a few would be there for me as I would be there for them. In fact, I think I should tell them how great they are right now!
I lean back in my chair as the channel changes from game show to movie. I am now calm and relaxed, secure in the knowledge that the sun will rise again. My brain slows down, my eyelids get heavy and finally, comforted by the image of my beautiful friends, I surrender to a deep sleep dreaming of a better tomorrow, in a better world that is more hopeful for all of us.