America's Greatest Drug Problem
The article begins, "An ongoing drug epidemic has swept the US, killing hundreds and sickening thousands more on a daily basis." Opioids? Heroin? Crack cocaine? The article continues:
The widespread use of a substance called "alcohol"—also known as "booze"—has been linked to erratic and even dangerous behavior, ranging from college students running naked down public streets to brutal attacks and robberies.
The piece in Vox is satirical: "Imagine if the Media Covered Alcohol Like Other Drugs." It's too poignant to be laugh-out-loud funny, but it does cause a smile here and there. The points of such satire are many, but this is what stood out to me this week:
In the mad rush to be first and loudest on a given issue, the media regularly overlook issues that, in fact, are more pressing and dangerous. The violence of racist, white supremacists in Charlottesville, especially the wanton killing of Heather Heyer, was deeply disturbing. The same weekend, however, 10 people were murdered in Chicago. Such ongoing, extreme violence happens every day, but it's not "news" so it doesn't get covered with the same intensity. Like police shootings of minorities and shootings of police. Like sex trafficking. Like 3,000 abortions per day. And so on. Given the purpose of the media (to report what's new), there's not much to be done about this phenomenon. Except to remind myself to continue to pray and work on these other issues even if no one is talking about them.
What to Think of Robert E. Lee?
As the faithful readers of this report have surmised, I'm not much of a fan of moralistic harangues that try to convince me to do this or that. But I can be persuaded by a careful argument, well couched. For example, I admit to waffling on memorials to Robert E. Lee, having been unimpressed with the angry rhetoric I've read about him in some quarters. I was taught in college that, despite his loyalty to the South, he was an exceptional general and a gentleman. But Andrew Bacevich has given me pause, and, like him, I'm a "quick study and a slow learner." Not only did Lee fight to preserve the South's enslavement of Africans, "Robert E. Lee was a traitor" and "no less than Benedict Arnold," he argues. That may seem like an abstract charge compared to Lee's defending slavery, but to me, to fight against the deepest ideals of our nation is in some ways a more profound transgression; Lee was essentially fighting against every oppressed minority in our history before and after.
An Activist's Humility
In my experience, most activists think if they admit to a mistake, they'll lose followers and sabotage their cause. I tend to think of such men and women as arrogant and self-righteous—and I admit that I might be self-righteous in doing so! Be that as it may, when John Perkins, one of the great racial reconcilers in my generation, admitted "I wish I had done more to help poor white people," I not only respected him more, I am now also inclined to listen more carefully to whatever he has to say, especially about racial reconciliation.
The Most Smiley Places
What country's residents smile most? How smiley are employees from large companies on LinkedIn? Discerning readers will want to know where the happiest place to live and work on earth might be!
Grace and peace,
Friday, August 25, 2017
"Imagine if the Media Covered Alcohol Like Other Drugs."