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When My 80 Year Old Father Said This, I Knew It Was Time To Speak Up

roseMy Dad is a great man. He is kind, caring and intelligent. He’s 80 years old. And last weekend, while we sat by the pool on his farm chatting, he said something that wasn’t unusual for him, because I grew up with him saying this most of my life, however when he said it this time, it made me realise something. This time, I realised that the viewpoint he was sharing was one that a lot of the world also shares. This is the reason why Donald trump was elected. It’s the reason why we read the newspapers and watch the news everyday on TV. It’s why we have talk back radio and READ post after post on social media of people ranting.
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See my Dad believes the world is in a constant state of deterioration. He feels things are getting worse and worse. Often he will say things like “It wouldn’t happen back in my day.” Donald Trump’s successful election campaign was built on the idea that things are screwed and we need to fix them. The news is saturated with dire stories about how tragic the world is. Many people see the wars, starvation, famine, environmental disasters and feel the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

But is this the case? Or is this all that we are able to see or even WANT to see? Maybe there are remarkable things developing in this world but it just doesn’t make the newsstands, or, we don’t want to see it? Do we have a ‘fascination with the abomination’ like Marlow said in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness? Notice how much the traffic slows down to look at the car crash and yet we speedily drive by beautiful meadows, oceans and sunsets completely oblivious? It’s like the old guy that comes out of his home every morning to water his garden. He grabs the hose, turns it on, and then notices all the weeds over to the side. He stands there, bemoaning how these weeds are there and they just don’t seem to go away. All the while the water is pouring out nourishing them and the roses over in the garden are being deprived of the water.

So I suggested to my Father that we just look at unbiased data. (Stats are available if required)
We currently have more people in the world than ever before with access to education
We currently have more people in the world than ever before with access to fresh water
We currently have more people in the world than ever before with access to medical support
We currently have more people in the world than ever before with access to a democratic political structure
We have less terrorist attacks
We have less homosexual incarcerations
We have less domestic violence
We have less rape
We have fewer wars

Now this may charge you and it may cause you to go “But what about…?” Yes, there are still come seriously challenging situations on the planet that we need to work towards resolving. The environment, Syria, Israel/Palestine, Standing Rock, fracking, nuclear arms, human trafficking, drug and alcohol addiction being just a few of the global issues that are very pressing. This is not about burying our head in the sand. Let’s acknowledge these issues and be pro-active together to resolve them. If we can come together more like the planet is often doing, then over time, if this progressive pattern continues, we may only hope that more of these issues become resolved.

In the meantime, let’s also water the roses. Let’s celebrate the progress that humankind is making also. Let’s give recognition that we have come a long way and things will continue to evolve. Is it perfect? Nope…not even close. But the unbiased stats say things are so much better than it’s ever been and as for the future…WHERE OUR ATTENTION GOES, IT GROWS.
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