S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Are these the bad old days?

Many are not in a good mood these days. This may be due to what we are reading and hearing in the news. News can worry us. In a recent post I talked about the advantages of keeping the level of fear high among the American people.
Today's post will focus on what we all can do to lower our level of generalized anxiety. Doing this means actually rethinking the meanings we make of bad news items we encounter - a kind of "re-frame towards a more positive way of thinking," if you will.

Impending threats: This EU ROTA writer has a great "take" on "doom and gloom" in the MSM. He recommends that "editorial writers . . . need to see the sky has not yet fallen." He cites this NYT editorial as an example of "their nattering-negative-nabobbing echo chambers, "

It was a rather chilling bit of news when local authorities in Arlington and Alexandria, Va., announced they were experimenting with warning sirens to alert citizens of impending threats. The idea is that if there's a crisis, there should be some way to reach citizens out walking the streets or touring the shopping malls, temporarily unplugged from all the normal communication devices that pepper daily life with bad news.

A recent public opinion poll: The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted Jan. 26-29/2006 shows widespread citizen dissatisfaction. There are actions citizens can take to urge positive changes in the behavior of the current administration regarding troop levels in Iraq, lobbying reform, etc. The poll shows that,

Heading into Tuesday's State of the Union . . . President Bush faces an electorate that continues to be dissatisfied with his job performance, increasingly wants U.S. soldiers to come home from Iraq, and believes the Republican Party is associated more with special interests and lobbyists . . . The overall political climate for Bush is “gray and gloomy . . . In general, people are just not in a happy mood.”

Big worries in the Middle East: The news coming out of the Middle East is perhaps among the most anxiety producing imaginable. Because of continued Israeli/Palestinian fighting, threats of withdrawal of international financial support for Palestine, and the Palestinian elections resulting in the new empowerment of the "terrorist" group Hamas, the U.S. government has much reason for anxiety. But as citizens we can speak out against any unilateral or precipitous administration over-reactions against these struggling factions. We do not need to be overly pessimistic about the situation. To quote from this Reuters article,

Israeli troops killed two Islamic Jihad militants on Tuesday in the first deadly clash since a shock victory by Hamas in a Palestinian election that has thrown Middle East peacemaking into turmoil. . . The fighting near the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank raised tensions just a week after the parliamentary vote, in which Hamas trounced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's long-dominant Fatah movement. . . Israel has called for a boycott of any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, and said on Tuesday it expected to suspend monthly tax payments (monthly customs revenue) to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, a severe financial blow.

It depends on how you look at it: Despite very sobering facts, a realistic view of our current national circumstances necessitates that we vigorously stay on top of how we feel about the daily news. How discouraged, cynical, helpless or hopeless do we allow ourselves to remain in the face of bad news? It is always our own choice. Is the glass half full or half empty, to drag out an old cliche?


My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is about the constitutions of the U.S. and the E.U.

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