How does one reconcile, in one’s mind, the hate and corruption one sees throughout the world?
The sad answer is that it’s almost impossible to make it right and all you can do is your best.
This past week was a difficult one for me. I wonder if I should even write while I’m feeling so much rage. I don’t consider myself any more virtuous or high minded than anyone else, but I do have a moral compass and it is definitely searching for my true north. I am aware that many people are sick and tired of hearing about corruption and don’t want anything to do with partisan politics. That’s not a good reason for me to shut-up about it. World leaders everywhere are making decisions that affect the lives of many in a truly destructive way. I’m not so naive to think that it is any better or worse than it has ever been, nonetheless, I am discouraged by what I see and hear.
Leaders have been corrupt for centuries; most likely since the very beginning. What I find difficult to swallow, is the absence of concern from the people who are affected by their decisions. We work hard, we take care of one another, and we attempt to create a future for ourselves and our families. However, what we are seeing more and more, is greed and dishonesty among the politicians we put our trust in.
What I see
- I think that as long as these bad actors continue to get elected, apparently by whatever means it takes, this virus will grow bigger and will cause greater harm to the world.
- Local grassroots leaders may also be corrupt, however, keeping a watchful eye on these politicians is somewhat easier when you can look them in the eye and hold them accountable.
- We often use the “holidays” as an opportunity to tuck these issues away while we celebrate and escape the news. Taking a break from harsh reality is a good thing, however, politicians count on times like this, hoping we might forget our grievances. Our current administration uses news cycles to deflect from big issues, creating new fires and attempting to bury important stories.
- The media has always manipulated the truth, spun lies, distorted facts, etc., but lately it seems more like a competition for who can do be better at this game.
- I recently decided to listen to those for whom I care a great deal, to hear their point of view and try to better understand their perspective. Their truth is just that and I find it difficult to argue with someone who firmly believes his or her truth.
- When you feel marginalized, patronized, ignored, and lied to, it’s easy to understand why you might look to a different source for salvation.
- There have been many studies done (WSJ piece) on the psychological toll the current environment is taking on our lives. The inability to do anything about the chaos and lies, leaves us feeling hopeless and lost (US News piece). Depression, a lack of sleep, anger, hopelessness; it all eventually catches up with you.
- People have justifiably stopped watching the news or listening to the media. The average person doesn’t know what to believe anymore, and therefore, chooses not to believe anything.
Here is when you add what you see. This is the part that is most interesting. We all see something different because we have different perspectives and histories. Thinking your own perspective is the correct one, is dangerous. It will leave you feeling angry and frustrated. I feel this way almost every day and I have to remind myself to take a step back and breathe.
Where It’s All Going
- Hate to say it, but I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The greedy, lying, SOBs, have far too much to lose and they won’t stop until they get want they want; often at our expense.
- Authoritarian power mongers are winning elections in many countries; their collective power and clout is helping to put them in office and keep them there. Then of course there are the dictators who gain power by other means. I don’t necessarily see these men as more dangerous than those who are elected.
- Some leaders use fear, lies and deceit, to get elected and stay in office. It appears that facts and truth is not enough to disprove their rhetoric.
- There are movements all over the world to stop these hacks. There are also people and organizations putting millions of dollars into the hands of smart leaders who can, at the very least, slow down corruption.
- Young people, in greater numbers, seem to be joining the conversation lately and that’s a good thing.
- Sometimes we take three steps forward and six steps back.
- I truly hate feeling this way, because it’s already pretty dire, but I believe the worst is coming. I don’t believe we are at our breaking point just yet. I don’t think we are capable of wrapping our heads around just how bad it can get. Our optimism can blind us.
- I think climate change will be more catastrophic than we ever imagined. The rain forests, our oceans, oxygen levels, fossil fuels, dwindling natural resources, garbage, plastics, etc. — way too complicated for the average person to comprehend. We are at a point in mankind’s development where facing the reality of the damage we are causing to our fragile planet, is imperative. Denying, defraying, and hiding the truth, will only hasten our demise. I’m not so much worried for myself, but for our children and their children. Closing our eyes and ears is not the answer; the next generation will pay the price. In the past, the cost was not quite so clear. The world population is higher than it’s ever been and getting bigger.
- Optimism is a good thing, but using it as a way to deny reality, is dangerous. It is human to be hopeful. It is human to see the good in people. It is human to protect and preserve one’s self, and it it also human to repeat history. We need to wake-up and consider the future.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Being in Portugal, where they naturally do not celebrate Thanksgiving, was not a good thing for me. Next year I need to either be with friends and family or create a Thanksgiving feast in Portugal. I find myself going down a rabbit hole of negativity and deep concern.
Sparing You and Me Both
I’m going to stop here and state, that I am aware that what I am writing about is fairly negative and seemingly fatalistic. I am normally upbeat, positive and hopeful. I hate that I don’t feel that way lately. I’m not depressed, unhealthy or lonely. I’m sensing a great deal of concern from average people who feel that their hands are tied behind their backs. So the big question is, what can you do to change the world so that it’s a better place for our children? I’m in awe of Jane Fonda who fights for all of us each day. At 82 years old, it would be easy for her to enjoy her wealth and abundance. She and others like her (i.e., Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter) inspire me and move me to action.
A friend of mine has being doing his part to lift the spirits of those around him by posting positive quotes on his Facebook page. I came across this one just the other day:
“The biggest obstacle to changing the world is the believe that we can’t.”
— Marianne Williamson
4 thoughts on “What in the World?”
You’re not alone
Good to know 🤪
Good night, Chris,
I am sorry you’re in such a funk. I agree to a lot of what you wrote.
As to Thanksgiving being a terrible time when you are away from family and friends in another country that has no Thanksgiving traditions, I discovered belatedly that there are Thanksgiving dinners and other celebrations by Americans and other ex-pats in Algarve.
Maybe next year, we can start a Thanksgiving tradition of our own. What do you think?
I’m leaving to Rio tomorrow. I should be back in April or May since I’m planning to go to California before returning to Tavira. Are you spending Christmas in Portugal or traveling to a new interesting place? Keep in touch.
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Thank you for reading my blog Laura. I did actually have a Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving; not the same. Yes we should discuss next year soon. I’ll be in Bordeaux for Christmas. Safe travels and I’ll see you when you return to Portugal.