Who is watching News?
One thing I do is watch the news from around the world. It is a luxury I couldn’t afford in my younger days, not that I wanted to. For a long time, I had the attitude of many and considered the news depressing. I felt that the world will do what it does if I watch it or not. It did, and I lived in my own little world attempting to worry only about my own problems. There were family issues, community, health, and payments. The prevailing attitude was why should I worry about the things I cannot change? And a whole lot of us didn’t.
I was a teenager in the sixties when my group of people were changing the entire world and rebellion was the norm. We caused changes like never before if you exclude the major revolutions. Black people got the vote, women became equal and consumer protections arrived to mention a few. In my life, there was even a bigger change than most since my parents started a new life in faraway Canada much different from where I grew up. Just keeping up with the changes was a task and a half. Getting started, learning the language and finding my way proved to be a full-time job.
This lasted for a long time and the world was there but I didn’t feel that I could change it. The sixties became history and my generation quieted down and settled in. Many millions of us, the Baby Boomers left our early idealism and joined the mainstream. We honestly believed that the changes which we caused would fix the world and bring a period of peace and prosperity for all. We have been wrong. Prosperity came to a few at the expense of the many. There were some improvements, but some were short-lived and quickly disappeared.
I watch the news and see a new fight brewing not only in my community or country but all over the world. While we were dormant, a minority seeks to dominate the majority and have been working hard under many banners. There is no such thing as freedom, democracy, equality, fairness, institutionalized and enshrined forever. It is in human nature to try to win to the point where those who lose suffer, and the winners enjoy the pain of those rendered helpless. It is a sad reality. Each generation must fight for its own rights and freedoms. There is a flaw in the human’s nature which makes it impossible for all of us to enjoy a good life equally.
I am a historian trained to notice trends and cycles of human civilization. I see a rise of one kind of mammal species called humans spreading upon a world. Those who excel in using technology are dominating all others and the gap grows. Some humans develop cultures and take over others making great achievements. The Egyptians under kings named Pharaohs enslaved neighboring nations, such as the Hebrews, harnessing their labor to build cities and pyramids. The first evidence of “freedom fighters” or “terrorists” entered history.
The Hebrew slaves felt abused and with the help of a God whose name is “I am” terrorized the Egyptians and broke for freedom. This is the story that never ends and fills the news even today. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. One after the other great civilizations conquered weaker nations always subjugating large populations and taking advantage until others arrive.
Today on the news I see a million people in Hong Kong demonstrating against the newest bully on the block, China. In the Middle East, the United States seems to make an effort to start a war against Iran and Great Britain is up in arms for or against leaving the European Union. The new rich Chinese surpassed the new rich Russians in buying our best real estate. In America, a president is barely hanging to his own position and Canada is trying to keep its own economy while outside forces are nibbling around the edges. In all of those prosperous countries, there are few people who are doing very well while the great majority are losing grounds and are in a fighting mode. Pharaoh and the Hebrews come back to mind.
The world of humans has not changed. We have a longer life span, most of our physical work can be eliminated by the use of technology, but we face shortages of critical commodities such as fresh water, air and even the prospect that we will lose the land we live on because of atmospheric changes. The billions of people who are not on top of the pile are worried about losing not only their freedom but the ability to sustain their own lives. Not watching the news doesn’t help.
Again I review my priorities, this time not from a youngster point of view, but harnessing a long life’s experience. I fought my wars, raised a family, and built up a bit of security for old age. Should I be concerned about the news or even care about a future which I may never see. Should I risk turmoil when I am expected to rest and wait for society to take care of me as my body becomes dilapidated and my mind is expected to deteriorate as many often do? Isn’t it the way of the world for the old to give way to the young and assume a supportive role?
Those are hard questions and there is no room for error. If I give up the time for pleasure which I worked so hard to secure in favor of fighting, the rest period, retirement will not come back. I grind my teeth and watch the news, not only the canned version on my television but the less-known news available on the internet. I let my fingers dance on the computer keys and produce articles and letters intended to change things, and I don’t look back.