With perhaps some superficial periodic changes in the overt details, I wouldn’t be the first to point out that the news is mostly the same old, same old.

The “same old, same old” is the underlying rhythm, the hatreds, the cynicism, the destructiveness, the divisiveness, the changing of the guard from one side to the other over time, but with little uplifting trajectory. One side gains for a while, their proponents gush and ecstatically cheer and then, a little bit later, the other side takes a turn and the losers (sacrificial pawns that we are) go into depressive, discouraged, angry states of mind, blaming their counterparts in the us/other dichotomy for standing in the way of achieving the illusory glory that they/we believed would come from their/our partisan hegemony.

And so it goes, cycle after cycle after cycle. Why?

Because, of course, we let it. And because we, ourselves, foster it and because we are mostly pretty naïve and, in truth, because we are only marginally highly principled ourselves. We not only relish our supposed “wins,” but we glory in “their” losses and we carry only the most shallow (as a rule) view and understanding of the forces in our world that we ignobly and ruthlessly encourage to wreak havoc on those poor suckers like ourselves, who, like us, suffer the consequence of living in such disharmony.

And the media and the pundits participate and grease the wheels of the delusionary distractions by pretending to delve into the questions with feigned integrity, but rarely go deeply, deeply into the actual realities that escape superficial punditry. And, that timidly playing along with the hidden (perhaps even to themselves) unspoken dominant agenda is the almost universal norm, either from fear of jeopardizing seemingly favored positions in that scheme of things or from an inability or disinclination or intellectual laziness, to look too closely at the less facile truths.

And so, the circular, repetitive dysfunction perpetuates ad infinitum to the consternation of all but the most privileged few, who live in their own delusions of self-satisfaction in this troubled world that they purposely attempt to control for the narrow, cynical benefits they seek.

If one listens to the verbal wranglings of this or that media commentator, policy wonk, political analyst, partisan spinmeister, politician, private citizen, et al., they are almost all ever ready to declare their particular solution to this or that “issue,” and almost every such remedy tends to be rife with how to stop those other ones from getting in the way of having us or ours fix it all.

And it just goes on with hardly anyone asking the big question, which is, what kind of world do we want to live in?

We can keep going along the same road that has brought us here (what was that definition of insanity in the current parlance?) and take the consequences, of course. And, we probably will. Or, unlikely as it would be, we could step back and with great courage (nothing less will do) as a world, develop some real integrity and a universal, benevolence that we insist is the dominant, honest course for our global community. What are the chances of seeing that transpire in what’s left of your or my time in this world?

Mine is purported to be quite short, but not my daughter’s and not my granddaughter’s and hopefully not yours and those you care about. So, I’ll wistfully continue to root for at least some of those who will carry on to move closer and closer to defining their lives, not by continued antagonisms towards the “others,” but by insisting on moving themselves and this world toward greater loving harmony. It’s a seemingly insurmountable, probably almost unimaginable task, of course, considering the negative antagonisms so pervasive and persistent.

But really, is this the kind of a world we want for ourselves and for those who will follow? Short of being a total, raging Pollyanna, that’s the question that I believe needs to be asked over and over and over, and never be lost sight of, at each step along whatever course we may find ourselves on.

— Donald Wertheimer lives in Ashland.