Any good news?

Posted 02.23.15

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | There is good news in the news; it's not as rare as we think. There's plenty -- read through this newspaper! But bad news gets our attention -- disasters, with warnings and scary items at the top of the list. Especially scary. Good news can be medical discoveries that'll save millions of lives, eventually, but this becomes invisible next to a gunman massacring school children -- because it's awful and it's today.

On top of this, some of the best news might be inside the very worst of events, as a seed.

Take the very worst, ISIS, or any of the sectarian horrors we read about. It can hardly get uglier; the rise of fundamentalist terror into power and position creates lots of bad news, but also a big opportunity.

One of the minor war-possibilities in the Middle East is between Israel and Iran. There's no realpolitik reason for this mutual hatred; these countries do not share a border; they trade with different partners, and have nothing to gain from a conflagration near them. Why haven't they made peace? Why haven't they maturely backed away from past stupidities and made combating ISIS a mutual ambition. That would be principled cooperation.

If combating ISIS brought about Israeli -- Iranian cooperation, then ISIS would have been good news, strange to say, not completely bad. Good news can hide inside the worst. "Can" is operative. Most bad-news events end up being bad, creating more harm and destruction than is ever necessary, usually because we humans can't figure out how to get along without anger and greed.

Even the mass shootings in the US contain these seeds. After each massacre, the National Rifle Association floods the media with its peculiar messaging; as bad as their "solutions" are, there is a little good news in these pro-gun campaigns, and that is the question: who is paying to stir up this pro-gun paranoia? That very question is a glimmer of good news.

Or take the American militias seizing government installations to show the "guvmint" who's in charge -- bad news? It would be horrendous news if it translated into the Waco assault, where all the occupiers died by bullets or fire. It hasn't gone there and the good news is that the government called their bluff, sitting them out rather than providing them a bigger target or creating martyrs. Any patience is good news in the land of knee-jerk reactions.

We may also be dismayed by the racism and xenophobia shown within the campaigns for the US presidency, and indeed that sort of proto-fascism is bad -- but it's not news! This has been part of America for generations, right from the slave-owning, anti-native get-go. The good news is on the other side, Senator Bernie Sanders is surprising everyone with his progressive, anti-corporate, and anti-war campaign -- and its success.

And we haven't even looked at the really good news, that flowing from last fall's federal election and our new government's promising early measures.


Copyright © 2016 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/02.16