I know. The United States is a deeply divided country – politically, economically, racially, and other-llys. I am sorry that there are people suffering in this period of great upheaval. At the same time, there are some remarkable, if invisible, positive things that I observe happening:
- People are watching and reading about news and current events. Personally, I am now watching CNN more than since my 33-year old son was a baby and CNN was the only thing on the TV when he’d wake us up at 3 a.m. Whether we are watching news programs and following news websites for entertainment or to actually follow the news, many of us are more up-to-date on current events than we’ve been in ages.
- Critical thinking is, at least for some of us, on the rise. When public statements denying what the vast majority of scientists say about climate change, for example, it forces us to take a step back and ask “is that true”? And hopefully, to research it and learn about things like data, rather than simply taking the word of a story or public statement.
- Critical reading is, again, for at least some of us, on the rise. When a news story is declared “fake news” by the president of the U.S., or when he denounces a newspaper or television network, it brings a doubt as to what is or is not truth. For me (and I’m sure for others), that encourages me to read more and to ask questions that I might not otherwise ask, such as: “Are there legitimate sources and proofs for this story?”, “Are unnamed sources as reliable as those named?”, “Have statements been made in writing or on video that are verifiable?” Once we have to dig further in order to answer tough questions, the answers bring us closer to the truth.
How about you? Are you finding a silver lining amidst the upheaval?