If you’re paying attention to the headlines, you’re seeing a lot of bad news these days.
What with COVID-19 to start with — there’s no way we’ll get good news from a nasty pandemic — and then China and Iran being militant, not to mention Russia messing with our elections again, it’s easy to feel inundated by the horrors of life on Earth right now. Every new story just adds to the pressure until it feels like we’re buried in an avalanche of ills and awfuls.
So I’d like to take a moment to remind you of some things you might be forgetting:
- It’s not that bad.
- It’s never that bad. You’re getting your news from infotainment, which hypes up all the awful and never puts it in perspective.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “But the COVID numbers—!!!”, “Trump’s sending in the Gestapo against—!!!”, “Famines, earthquakes, and droughts—!!!”, “The path to global nuclear holocaust—!!!”
So let’s start with COVID-19. That’s pretty bad, all right; ten million people around the world could die, and three times that number might end up with long-term health problems. There’s no way to make that positive, and then when you look at the economic repercussions…
…and put them into the proper perspective, they’re not awful. Automation has jumped ahead by about five years and a lot of people are suddenly out of work, but that was going to happen anyway. It just happened all at once. The good news there is that the candidates that dismissed the problem in the New Hampshire primaries are now taking it seriously, and the government is taking steps toward addressing the problem, which means we’re a long ways ahead of where we would have been.
COVID deaths are high, yes, and that’s a problem. On the other hand, there was a particularly deadly H3N2 influenza going around last autumn and it hadn’t peaked when our first lockdowns went into place. As a result, this and other communicable diseases have been mere shadows of their potential selves. Traffic deaths and workplace shootings are also nearly nonexistent right now — though there never were that many workplace shootings, statistically speaking.
The down side is still there, mind — and it’s a very good thing that large-scale vaccine trials have begun. If even one of the four likely major candidates shows promising results, there could be a COVID vaccine readily available starting next spring.
Did I mention famines? The lean season is coming in Burkina Faso; fifteen countries so far are reporting emergencies due to lack of food. Part of this is COVID; supply chains and foreign aid have been interrupted. It’s also true that plagues of locusts have hit India and East Africa, and several nations — like Yemen — are in crisis due to years of civil war.
Again, though, this is neither as bad as it has been in the past nor as bad as it could be. Many of the conflicts in eastern and central Africa have been greatly calmed due to the virus, and charitable food donations are coming. If reasonable action is taken, there’s no reason for most of these people to suffer for any great length of time. And we are now aware.
The COVID-related issue is with respect to the so-called Just In Time supply and restock model. We’ve learned that, while it’s effective and efficient in good times, it’s neither effective nor resilient in a crisis. We’ve been fixing it, because that’s what business does when profits are on the line. But I’d remind you: This is a problem that’s been with us right along, and it’s one that’s been revealed by the crisis — and it’s being fixed.
China is indeed warmongering, as is Russia, but again I’d remind you that this is nothing new. Neither is the Trump Administration’s response to them. We’re following tried-and-true diplomatic paths, and we’re conducting the same type of military exercises we always have in these cases. So, yes, tensions are high, but they’re always high – because China wants to conquer Taiwan and the resources of the South China Sea, and Russia dreams of its heady days of empire.
We’ve heard stories of Trump sending in the secret police against protesters, and for the most part they’re not true. The important aspects, such as access to representation, no detention without charges, and so on are being observed. People aren’t vanishing into black bags.
What is happening is that we’re becoming aware that Federal law permits a great deal more enforcement than we as Americans are accustomed to. Again, this is a long-standing problem, and it’s something we need to deal with. It’s not new, and it’s not particularly alarming when viewed in the appropriate context — which is that legislators are considering long-overdue alternatives and oversight.
Police departments are taking heat for excessive force and brutality, but until the protests began — and became violent — the numbers have been trending down for almost a decade. We’re having public discussions on demilitarizing the police and ending the failed War On Drugs; these are very good things.
News from infotainment always makes things look worse than they really are, and the effect is magnified on slow news days; we’ve had a hundred and fifty slow news days in a row. And don’t forget: There are Russian bot farms out there right now trying to make you panic over made up non-news.
The bottom line? Sure, life is tough right now. If you’re on lockdown at home, or if you’ve lost your job, or even if you’re a terrifically overworked essential employee, it’s not easy. Things will get better; I know this because they always do.
So keep positive, my friends; stay optimistic. Life isn’t as bad as it looks.
And if it does go sour, The Not Fake News will be here to let you know.
The Not Fake News runs on ramen noodles and copious amounts of caffeine, and we can always use more. If you enjoy reading these updates, we urge you to either consider PayPal or
“The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a Free and Unrestrained Press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a Free Press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people.”
– Justice Hugo Black, U. S. Supreme Court