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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bad times signal a light ahead

At some point in physics class you are taught that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Now, with that principle in mind, I would propose that for every bad, evil or horrific occurrence in this world, something equally joyous, uplifting or just also comes about.

Does this seem outlandish? Just hear me out.    

If ever you watch the network or cable news channels, or read any newspaper, then you likely have a fairly pessimistic view of your future. This is certainly understandable due to how many breaking news headlines have to do with some sort of war, natural disaster or geopolitical crisis. For instance, during the past semester alone, we had to deal with the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, continuous forecasts on the financial woes of our nation, earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, uncertainties about nuclear disaster, the continued belligerence of Iran, the crackdown on protestors by authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, massive tornados in the South, the Libyan crisis …

Unfortunately, the list goes on. But there is light on the horizon. There is always a bright spot, provided that one looks for it.  

The shootings in January of Giffords and others led to an unprecedented spurt of citywide and national unity. The devastation wrought upon Japan by recent earthquakes and tsunamis revealed the strong character of the Japanese. A complete lack of looting, calm lines of people waiting for relief supplies, representatives of the nuclear plants that actually bow to those to whom they ask for forgiveness — Japan’s reaction to tragedy is truly inspiring.  

Even as scores of protesters lose their lives in the fight for democracy in the Middle East, results are actually coming in the form of nervous dictators, and the toppling of regimes. These people are looking for a better future for themselves and their children by demanding well past due freedom.

And what about radicalism around the world? Well, Osama bin Laden is toast, so there’s another blow to terrorism. And the economy? It’s still shaky, but steadily strengthening. And by all accounts, charitable acts to those in need are on the rise.  

Now, if there is anything that really tends to lead to division and low morale, it is politics. The back and forth between leaders on Capitol Hill and the White House seems to cause a lot of headache without leading to any results. But wait, isn’t that what a healthy democracy is all about? Debate, disagreement and, dare I say, gridlock? If we were North Korea or Zimbabwe or one of the countries in the Middle East, could you imagine the violence that would ensue if a ruling party was defeated in elections such as those last November in the U.S.?

Sometimes we take the peaceful transfer of power for granted.

And what about this whole business of the polarization of political parties? I don’t know about you, but I choose my friends pretty much regardless of political affiliation.

Really, some of the problems in the world seem tame when you consider that 200 years ago, or even 50, depending on the region of the world, a lack of technology and preparedness allowed earthquakes and tornados and hurricanes to take many more lives. And with a global network of media, at least the dictators think twice before they thoughtlessly massacre their own people.

I don’t pretend to diminish the severity of many of the issues in the world today. But I really cannot think of a more hopeful and promising time to live in the greatest and most blessed country on earth. There is definite value in having a little pessimism, even some healthy skepticism now and again. But when the world seems like it is collapsing around you, optimism may be a little more comforting.  

Cliché, cliché, I know. So to all those who are graduating this semester and truly going off into the world, don’t stress out too much, really. The roughest patches are always followed by the best experiences life can offer.      

 

— Tanner Weigel is a sophomore studying history and Spanish. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.   

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