Friday, April 18, 2008


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.


JIm said...

Well done. Optimism is good.On the food shortages, don't forget the inefficient use of corn to make ethanol which is only economically feasable because of the govt. subsidies. On the good news front, there is a process using enzymes (Like cows convert food to methane)to convert anything that grows(expected to use mostly waste) directly into oil products. The enviromentalists love it and the military is supposedly adopting it. A pilot plant is supposedly coming on line in two months with production in 2009.

Anonymous said...

I almost would be forced to say that you sound like a member of the GOP.

The lessons of which you speak I had the benefit of heeding after reading the Book of Job.

The wonder of this country is that we, the people, have the power to further our pursuit of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. It has been taking us time, but we are striving to be better always.

Take heed that you are not fooled by the manipulators of commodities' prices. They are forces from outside this nation that seek our destruction. Much has been written of them and their pursuit of world domination through banking and economic manipulation.

Question those who congregate with others who seek the overthrow of our government. Ayers came to understand that Krushev was right. Obama is the candidate of the former Weather Underground. Is this someone with whom we would or should entrust the safety and security of out nation's future?

The biggest positive in the McCain column is that he is not a lawyer. We can trust that he has not studied the art of deception in order to attain his goals.

Lally said...

Jim, good point, as I have to admit, you sometimes make. But anonymous, whoever you are, you sure are confused. "Ayers came to understand Krushev was right"?! What the heck does that mean? The Weather Underground was certainly never enamored of Krushev, and if Ayers has become enamored of the old Soviet Communist Party ideals in his old age, I certainly haven't heard about it. I ran into many of the old weather underground back in the 1960s and '70s, and probably have been in the same room with some of them since, though I doubt it. Does that make me their blogger? What knuklehead ideas. If Obama is the candidate of the former Weather Underground because he is on a charity board that includes a former weather underground member who is now an English professor, than McCain is definitely the candidate of rightwing Catholic bashing fundamentalism since he has actually accepted the endorsement of several of them and has shared podiums with them (something Obama has never done) and he is also the candidate of the Washington lobbyist establishment, since he has many of them on his campaign, and he is the candidate of the etc. etc. blah blah blah. Guilt by association, and unsubstantiated rumor mongering has always been one of the central tasctics of the right (see Vince Foster's death et. al.) and I find it not only offensive and dumb, but evil. It has been at the root of a lot of this country's problems over the years. Obama is trusting, maybe naively, but I hope not, that the majority of us citizens of this country are intelligent enough and mature enough not to fall for it again. But with comments like yours and some of Jim's, it makes one wonder.

harryn said...

yeah, some nice reflections of sunlight in an otherwise murky global environment ...
and how about the pope speaking to the u.n. general assembly about the 'universal declaration of human rights' - a philosophical treatise broadcasted live on america's leading news station [cnn] - shucks, that's progress ...

Jamie Rose said...

thanks for doing this lals!

Anonymous said...

Very sad. I detected a sign of enlightenment in your post only to see that the party indoctrination has won out.

As recently as 2001, Ayers has stated that he felt that the actions of the Weather Underground did not do enough in their effort to bring down our government.

Ayers and his wife Van Dorn are the darlings of the political machine in Illinois. Obama was selected to succeed his mentor and was presented to the Liberal Elitists to receive their blessing.

What I think is the saddest part of the Weather Underground's actions is that they brought excessive 'heat' on the Black Panther movement. They were and are nothing more than self hating spoiled rich kids. The only thing that you seem to share with them is the lack of foresight to see the results of the ideas promoted.

When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

harryn said...

back to what i believe was the point - the good news - like the inspiring obama rally in philly last week at independence square [on the doorsteps of the 'original hooligans'] or hilary's diner chat in harrisburg where she discussed real issues with real people [no scripting]...

finally, after nearly a decade into the 21st century we're beginning to show signs of progress and shifting consciousness from some of the nightmarish principles that so many of us saw growing up - the abolition of fear and greed-based ignorance moving toward broader human concerns ...

for me this election will either mark a historical turning point or signal more of the same ...
i don't need another hand-held device to distract me from what's going on in the world - i wanna see 'difference' in the 21st ...

lastly, i dig SNL - always have - but last night left me a little cold - abuse disguised as humor is still abuse - no ..?
what concerns me is that the polls indicate shifting numbers based on snl's portrayal of different candidates - an intersting phenomena - like tabloid judgement - stuff that can easily be justified as entertainment, but perhaps a bit irresponsible ...

i recall a poem - "we will no longer take part in any project ... that isn't true ..."