It sure seems to me that 2020 is not off to a great start. Reminded me of a song that was released in 1989 by Billy Joel. “We Didn’t Start The Fire” It was retrospective song from the year of his birth, 1949 to the present day, listing headlines. It was a catchy song on the one hand and rather depressing in that the headlines listed were all pretty horrible things. I was reminded of that song this past Sunday as I was looking at the headlines of what is happening in the world.
The tragedy of Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter killed in a helicopter crash was but the top news story in a sad news cycle. China is locking down cities in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, which has already taken over 80 lives (if that number is to be believed). President Trump’s impeachment trial continues to rend the country into two camps. The New York Times reported that former National Security Advisor John Bolton has a new book forthcoming that holds bombshell announcements for the President. The President’s reaction to all of this, is of course to gut the Environmental Protections previous administrations have put in place. Children are dying. People are starving. The planet is clearly in an upward heat spiral. Australia continues to burn, and the population of koalas is likely brought to the edge of extinction through the burning of their primary food source the highly flammable eucalyptus trees that take years to grow back.
Those are just the big headlines. It’s all rather depressing, and considering that we are only in the first month of 2020, it doesn’t portend for a great year, as we have a presidential election pending, which means that the divisions in our country shall continue to be enflamed as the powerbrokers play their game of cat and mouse with the lives of the masses.
I could easily grow disheartened at the constant drumbeat of horrible news. It’s the simple choice really, to be sad, angry and apathetic. Especially when true tragedies happen as with Kobe. There is a natural reaction of, “Why bother?” The other option is to be angry and activist.
And taking action is the right course. We should strive to find the hope. We have to continue to look to the future and see that there is a possible better life, better world, better way of being. Throughout history the early death of good people has brought into question the great meaning of life. Mass sickness and plagues have come and gone, and frankly part of the problem that we face with the planet today is the result of man’s ability to fight and cure diseases.
Political intrigues have existed as long as there have been hierarchical societies, so really, since the dawn of time. Corrupt politicians is almost universally understood to be redundant and swings in governmental policy are generally smoothed out by the slow moving bureaucracies who cater to the entrenched civil servants main goal – stay employed.
Activist movements also happen in response to the headlines of the day. The Women’s March was again in the news for the third year. Greta Thunberg was moved to take action and from her actions, worldwide awareness has grown and people are talking in ways they have before, with emotion they haven’t experienced.
As we move into a political season of discontent, many of us will get active. The lawns signs will come out, the Facebook posts will again produce much heat and little light. We will begin to see if the vaunted Millenial Masses will actually show up at the polling booth and swing an election away from the traditionally controlling seniors.
I will not be engaging in much political commentary this year beyond that of bemused observer. The local races are just not that interesting, the state issues are mildly concerning as there is a ballot measure that is sure to upend the state’s economics, and on the federal front, I have no input on candidates of note, and no matter who the Democrats put forth they’re getting my vote, barring some independent who I become smitten with, which is highly unlikely.
Am I going to become an activist about anything? Possibly the environment. Clearly we need to do something to clean this place up – it’s a mess and our unbaked President currently sees nothing wrong. He’s like that guy in college who always destroyed the common room and never noticed that it was cleaned up by others. He also didn’t shower that often….
In any case, yes it’s been a rough start to 2020, but where we start is not where we end. There is room for much growth and hope in the ensuing months and we shouldn’t lose sight of it.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at email@example.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra