If one browses through social media sites or the comments sections on news sites, the only conclusion that can be reached is that we, as a nation, are extremely unhappy and angry.
Tirades against the left or the right, insults to elected officials of both political parties and condemnation of activities around the globe illustrate a national sense of frustration, disharmony and unhappiness.
Has it come to this?
In usual short-term analysis that replaces objectivity or serious examination points most, if not all, of the blame to those currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania or leads one or both of the arms of Congress.
Judges — both federal and state — get some of the blame.
Blame for what is perceived as the roots of all evil extend to entertainment, sports and religion.
If Howard Beale, the bombastic news anchor portrayed by the late actor Peter Finch were on the air now he probably would say: “I’m unhappy as hell.”
America, it seems, no longer has a sense of humor or anything to be happy about. Maybe that explains why suicide rates are so high nowadays.
Maybe it’s age but I find less makes me unhappy these days. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the lifestyle is both relaxed and not conducive to anger or unhappiness.
I wrote a piece for a local news site this week about the closing of a steakhouse that was part of my youth in Southwestern Virginia. I note, tongue in cheek, that I took dates there when I was 16 and 17 in the hopes that impressing them with a good meal would leave to more carnal activities afterwards.
The article brought emails from angry parents and others who claimed I was promoting an immoral and sinful lifestyle.
Of course I was. I was a horny teenager who chased young women with delight. In the swinging 70s, I was a single adult who enjoyed the liberation of the time.
Do I regret it? Not one damn bit. It was part of being a teenager and a young man in interesting times.
Nowadays, I’m surprised that so many in our society take everything so personally and look for reasons to get mad. Fights break out between parents at high school athletic events. Arguments over politics and religion turn nasty and bring ends to longtime friendships.
A Republican member of Congress this week compared Democatic President Barack Obama to Hitler. Democrats did the same thing with Republican President George W. Bush.
I’m not a fan of either Obama or Bush but my problems with both are based on issues and their actions. Hate is not an emotion I embrace.
On the other hand, I see reasons to be happy. Signs of economic recovery are emerging. A gallon of gas near our house costs less than two bucks. The Affordable Care Act provided insurance for my once-impossible-to-insure wife. The Dallas Cowboys lost in the playoffs (and that’s the best news of all :).
For more than a half century, I have covered news as both a reporter and a photographer. I started shooting video nearly 20 years ago. I’ve had to write a lot of stories about violence, about corruption and about the miseries of life.
But I also cover music and high school sports and the joys I see on stage, on a dance floor or on a court of field bring smiles and feelings that there is still a lot of good and enjoyment around us.
I’m blessed to enjoy what I do in life. The only part of my life that was not pleasurable was the time I spent as a political operative. I made a lot of money, traveled extensively and met a lot of people but it did not bring any sense of accomplishment.
I don’t have time to be unhappy. It is a waste of time to get angry. The government was have in America today is based on anger, contention, disrespect and disharmony.
Too bad. I’ve got things to do and a life to enjoy. Hopefully, others will become the majority in a nation where majority is supposed to rule.
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