I don't watch the news. I scan headlines online. I pick and choose what I want to read in-depth. And it's hard.
Part of my job involves being well-informed. I do research for people who write about the cutting edge legal and business issues of the day. So I deal with the news as much as I can bear. Which isn't much.
It's incredibly hard not to grow cynical. The news is designed to keep you feeling fearful and inadequate.
But the world is not that actually that way. Life is good and getting better all the time.
I posted a rant about John Edwards' infidelity. I was uncomfortable posting it, because I felt like I succumbed to cynicism and bitterness. Heroes fall. No one is perfect, and we shouldn't expect them to be. Like hungry dogs, the media wait for people to fall from grace to tear them to shreds. John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods. It's not new – Bill Clinton, New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, Rudy Guiliani, Hugh Grant, Kobe Bryant. The list rolls on like Santa's.
It doesn't mean people in positions of power and influence shouldn't be accountable for their actions. It's just whether we choose to explode people's lowest private moments as what we want to remember them for.
So, after ranting and feeling bad about it, I needed to find something more optimistic. To hear it from the news, everyone's screwing around and killing one another.
And it's simply not true.
For instance, despite the economic downturn, the Great Recession, whatever you choose to call it, the crime rate in the United States has dropped. Unless you actually caught that story, you wouldn't know it from the news. Would you?
I also found a news story recently that made me feel better about marriage. Cindy McCain has come out opposing Proposition 8, the hateful California ban on gay marriage. Her husband, failed president candidate and Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, has been one of the ban's most visible proponents. (McCain's daughter has also come out against the ban.)
There's not a question here of any infidelity here. They just disagree. It's good to see a relationship where the partners can disagree, especially in a public debate. She's using his prominence to promote her beliefs. They haven't had bitter fights in public. They apparently have agreed to disagree.
I approve. It's healthy for couples to disagree now and again. And I'm more impressed because McCain's generation is even less likely to publicly air this kind of disagreement. The Senator would be out in front of the microphone, and his wife would either be behind him, silent, or else just not present. I'm not a fan of Mr. McCain's politics, but I do respect him and his wife for standing up for their individual beliefs.
Hateful, angry people tend to be loud and vocal and make better television. Sex and violence sell advertising during the nightly news. It all makes the world seem ugly. And it's easy to succumb to it. The other day, I did.
We forget the good stuff.
[Posted for LJ Idol Season 6, Topic 12 - Current Events]