When I turn on the television or read the newspaper, it seems that there is a constant bombardment of negative events from around the world. Today I decided to try to sort the day’s top stories into categories and try to determine if these have worsened or if we are just more aware of them:
1. Global economic trends – The past few months have seen what is termed “unprecedented” problems with the stock market which has been on a roller-coaster ride as well as the demise of several large corporations. Businesses that had previously been viable are now turning to federal government asking for a handout because of competition or poor management in the past. Fluctuations in the dollar as well as instability in trade relations have caused most countries to recognize that what happens in other countries very much affects all of us.
2. Personal financial problems – Whether it is cause or effect, individuals and families are hurting in many ways. The closure of industries and organizations have resulted in layoffs of thousands of employees. The mortgage meltdown in the United States has placed pressure on home-owners who no longer than afford their payments. Fluctuating costs for oil and gas coupled with the rising costs for food has forced people to turn to community agencies for support or take on more jobs in an attempt to pay the bills and support their families.
3. Health Issues – Because the mortality rate has risen, we have more older people and this places demands on the next generation when it comes to ensuring that their health and personal needs are met. Time, money and stress can result when a caregiver is responsible for looking after a parent(s) as well as children while trying to juggle a career. There appears to be a strong educational component with our media that encourages us to develop good health practices.
4. War and Terrorism – A few years ago I remember being horrified to hear that there were over 100 wars in progress at the time. The September 11th terrorist activity reminded the world that we are not invincible and we do not have to even leave our home countries to experience trauma or conflict. Every week we hear about bombings, threats of deliberate germ warfare or assassinations.
5. Weather disturbances – Until India recently experienced a tsunami, I hadn’t even heard the world. The hurricanes devastation in New Orleans haunted us all as we watched its victims struggle helplessly. Earthquakes, snow storms and flooding in various parts of the world capture our attention on a regular basis.
6. Crime and murder – I am shocked at how many school shootings, murder-suicides within families and armed robberies are reported through the media each week. Sports and political figures are not immune to trouble and we often lose respect for someone who had previously been a “hero” after they have been charged with sexual misdemeanors or unethical practices.
When I consider the above, I am reminded that history does repeat itself. We have experienced abuse and murder from the Biblical days of Cain and Abel. Wars have been reported since the beginning of time and there have always been the “haves” and the “have nots” when it comes to financial wealth. Even those who claim that weather patterns have changed, would admit that there have always been occurrences of havoc caused by extreme situations.
Perhaps it is true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It might be just that we hear about them more often and more quickly because of technology and the media cycles.