Talking with my friend Jamie on the phone yesterday, she mentioned all the bad news on the radio, so I started listing the good news to counteract it and she suggested I write a post about that, so here ‘tis: ten good things about the present.
1) It’s not World War Two, when there was much more death and destruction going on in the world than now. In fact, there was more going on throughout most of the 20th Century, compared to the present.
The current wars our country is engaged in, as bad as they are and as much as I would like to see them end, have caused much less death and destruction than the major ones of my lifetime, from WWII through Korea to Vietnam.
Or even the Cold War for that matter where many more proxy wars were fought (like Korea and Vietnam, but also wars we didn’t directly engage in but nonetheless took many lives, like Africa’s various late 20th Century conflicts—the only comparable one now being the turmoil going on in the Congo).
There’s more death and destruction in the world than during the eight years of the Clinton administration, but otherwise, the world is relatively peaceful, with much fewer actual wars than in most of my lifetime.
2) Medical and scientific breakthroughs have made it possible for more people to live longer and survive various cancers and heart conditions and fatal diseases that would have killed them (me included) only a decade or two ago.
And Sub-Saharan Africa is finally getting some of the help it needs to overcome diseases other parts of the world conquered long ago, and the rare diseases unique to that continent.
3) The typical African strongman leader of the late 20th Century, like Idi Amin et. al. are far fewer than just ten years ago. As well as the Asian versions, etc.
4) South Africa is free of apartheid. African-Americans are no longer regularly lynched, as they were when I was a boy, or attacked with fire hoses and German Shepherds as they were when I was a teenager and young man, or kept from voting, or from running for office, or from attaining political office.
5) Women and African-Americans have progressed tremendously in their quest for equality with white men, though there is still more work to be done.
6) Even the current troubles with food prices rising because of oil monopolies manipulating supply and thereby prices (including this administration withholding strategic oil supplies, etc.) may have some good results, causing people to refocus on the important issues of overpopulation and over dependence on material goods rather than essentials, etc.
7) The emergence of China and India as economic engines rather than drains on the world economy and places of constant famine and destitution, is only a recent but positive development in most ways.
8) Yes, John McCain is my least favorite of the presidential candidates and I certainly don’t want to see him win, but any of the candidates for our next president will be an improvement on the current one.
9) We can become overwhelmed by media input and its misuse, but there are great benefits to the myriad cable channels and cell phones and internet access etc., including more connection and understanding between people worldwide and quicker response to emergencies and isolated tragedies (though bad governance can counteract that benefit, e.g. this administration’s response to Katrina).
Throughout most of history news of a natural or manmade disaster in some far away land wouldn’t even reach you until it was too late to help or the logistics of helping would be too difficult to surmount with the limited transport and technology of the time, but now, the world instantly knows of these things and can respond with help almost simultaneously (as in the tidal wave disaster a few years back, etc.)
10) There is and will always be, I believe, good and bad in every day, in every life, in every moment for that matter. Accepting that reality—while working to change the “bad” where possible, and build on the “good”—is the secret to peace of mind and heart.
I am passionate, obviously, about what needs to be changed for what I consider the good or the better, but I am also accepting of the constant presence of imperfection and even tragedy. Though it took a lot of years and a lot of living and a lot of guidance from others to get to a place where I can care, but also keep my perspective.
And I believe there are a lot more people like me, I know many, who have evolved from old ideas and narrow perspectives into someone more accepting, more caring, more thoughtful of others and of all creation.