To the Editor:

Is the idea of ‘hope’ just a fantasy?

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I struggle more and more to be hopeful about the future. It seems regional and national news and blogs follow the time honored “If it bleeds, it leads” format to inform; not so rural news, thankfully. Weary is an understatement!

Cutting myself off from the news does not satisfy my desire to stay informed. There are some bright spots, but it is necessary to wade through a swamp for the occasional nugget of a heart-warming story. Some see goodness others see turmoil. Which depiction of our world is the more accurate? Sometimes we who live here cannot see the positives, there must be a reason so many people want to come to the U.S. to live or be educated or work. Something so much better than what they are leaving behind. What do others see that we cannot? Is this hope?

News pundits are willing to sell their point of view even if unfounded just to earn ratings and generate dollars. It appears that they find joy in helping to tear our country apart. They are like spectators at a cockfight just hooting and hollering for blood! They sometimes admit that they don’t believe what they are selling but there are so many buyers that they just can’t resist. They sell dope on the corner street closing their eyes to the addicts.

Years ago, there were people on soap boxes in big cities espousing wild theories, often ignored. Today, the world is THE soap box and many stop to listen. We are drawn to these talking heads like people are to cult leaders; they give us Kool-Aid and we drink it! We know it’s poison but drink anyway.

Maintaining balance is my goal in these turbulent times. Accepting or just listening to different points of view remains a challenge when conspiracies abound. I used to enjoy listening to policy debates between conservative and liberal pundits. Today many just yell sound bites at each other hoping to get picked up for the 6 o’clock news. It is so very hard to process when logic is defied. I must accept though that at least half the country is at odds with the other half. Maybe this is where hope comes in. But is hope just fantasy?

I hope not.

Jim Vanderbeck


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