Blog Column: 

You know how 2016 was a royal mess and how some people had hope that 2017 would make up for it? Well, it’s not looking too promising so far.

Illness has befallen my family and, now that I’ve noticed it, maladies seem to be spreading throughout the country like a vicious rumor. Everyone in my family has had, or will soon have, surgery and everyone around me seems either to have the flu or be in a cast or sling.

The thing is that, just like the flu, three mental states travel as fast as the news can: Fear, ignorance, and hatred.

Observe how quickly these things spread and how hard they are to dislodge, especially fear. When Drumpf got elected, people went at each other’s throats everywhere and we are still watching the tail end of it. Before that, terrorists struck New York and sparked a downward spiral of invasive security, further polarized political views, and the fear that enables these things to happen.

Fear and hate are what enable people to follow extremists who promise protection. Granted, they have also paved the way for leaders such as Gandhi and Mandela, but those are rare exceptions.

When we let fear conquer us, we tend to see ignorant and hateful people take power. Then they have an almost unlimited forum to express their views, however accurate or misguided they might be. And you know what? That’s often what opposing sides want to happen to their enemies: To sow conflict among the people and convince them that they are weak and vulnerable and make them afraid and ignorant.

Problem is, the results aren’t just limited to war. It also means that whoever is in power can, in our case, purge information about climate change from the government, subject science to approval by politicians before publication, rather than other scientists, and ostracize the people who need our help the most.

While discussing this, my father quoted Scrooge: “I’ll retire to Bedlam.”

Maybe it’s time to accept that the world has gone to the dogs. We should just sit with the lunatics to find some peace and withdraw from the fight.

But that would mean surrendering.

We can still work to fix this, as my parents taught me how.

We can learn to educate ourselves. If that means looking at research and news from outside of the country because our government has put a lid on science, then so be it.

We can learn to love and cooperate. If that means living with jerks who refuse to see reason or compassion, then so be it. They are still our neighbors and should have our patience, even if they do not always deserve our love.

More than anything, though, nothing is hopeless until we concede defeat. That means that, now, we must learn to be brave.

Song of the Week: “Brave” by Josh Groban
Pretty much, this song is all about facing what you don’t understand and giving each other a reason to have courage in the face of adversity.


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