Where has all the good news gone?

There doesn’t seem to be any good news lately in the United States. With stories about the planned burning of the Qur’an, objections to a mosque and community center planned near Ground Zero in New York, the oil spill in the Gulf,  high unemployment rates and people out of work for long periods of time and on and on and on it really seems like Americans have been become intolerant, hating, greedy, fearful people who fight any change, any suggestion of differences in order to cling to an idealistic version of the United States that their parents or the founding fathers lived in.

Myself, I can see why people are afraid of change, afraid of other races, other religions and other ‘unamerican’ events.

Our country is structured so that in order to survive and stand proud you must be a part of a family that has at least one wage earner, with children and the other things that we consider requirements for the good life in the United States. Never mind that this typical family makes up less than half of the family types in the US, it is a dream that residents of the US strive for. With the unemployment rate at an average of 9-10% across the country, higher in some places, this dream is threatened and shattered by the realities of today.  People no longer fit in and are becoming ‘those’ people, you know, the ones who take welfare and steal our taxes from us, who have to take a handout and don’t know how to manage their money, you know, ‘those people’. So when you have people who are afraid to open their mail because of the past due payments, afraid to answer the phones because of collection agencies, afraid to see their friends and family because of their shame, that fear needs an outlet, it needs something to blame because if the problems are the person’s fault then they should be able to fix them.

Which they haven’t been able to because right now things, well, they suck.  And a lot of these people who are so afraid are white people who felt they had a contract with someone that they would never have to be this afraid for themselves and their family. Some kind of contract with Wall Street, big government, state government, bankers, corporations, all of these big establishments is supposed to have an implied contract of hands off on white people. With the last two years people are finding out that there really isn’t any security guaranteed but that doesn’t erase the fear, the shame and the guilt. When someone hurts that much and feels helpless in protecting their family that person is going to look for something to do or someone to blame. Blaming someone is all too easy when you don’t feel there are any other options open to you. So there’s that brown guy down the streets who speaks English funny who has a job, the black fellow across the way who plays his music a bit too loud, the woman who wears the shawls that completely covers her and flaunts her heathenish beliefs in front of good Christians, these people must be the ones who cause the problems in this area. And there are other white people who agree and say what about those slant eyes at the laundry or those spics from down south, they’ve stolen our jobs, we’ve got to get rid of them.

We have to show them we are powerful, we are the mightiest people and that we can do whatever we want to them just because we want to… and because I’ll feel like it’s not my fault that my life is screwed up and I don’t know how to fix it. I want to tell you, it’s not your fault. To put it bluntly, shit happens and in almost everyone’s life at some point there will be some disruption, some challenge where you wonder if you will be able to put bread on the table and keep a roof over your head, you’ll wonder if you can care for your family, how you will get through this illness, how will you care for your helpless spouse or child. It’s part and parcel of being human and being white or brown or yellow or some other color doesn’t offer any protection. But you do have this one hope, this one bright hope to help you get through to the other side. Your ancestors went through the same thing or even worse and somehow they survived, your family survived and you are now here today, alive and able to make choices. And it’s likely that your children and grandchildren will face similar crisis and will somehow find the strength to make it through to the other side. There is always hope and there is always someone that you can find to help you find the strength to make it through to the next day and the day after that.

With that note, I would like to share some links that provide a more positive look of people in the US and which give me hope and the feeling that I’m not alone in my thoughts and view.

Batman and Robin for racial diversity

Zen Habits – Site with tips for slowing down your life

Good News Network – Good news stories from all over

Gimundo – Good news served up daily