We have a listening problem these days. In a world swollen with big news report after bigger news report, it’s understandable as to why that may be. We’re swimming in a sea of stories that barely get resolved before the next big tidal wave hits our shores. So we’re expected to care about a long stream of events, all the while waiting for the floodwaters to recede. And one small slip down an internet rabbit hole can leave us submerged under the weight of things that are completely out of our control.

News is not opinion. Never has been, never will be. News is what’s happening. And these days, we have a multitude of options to get our news. But there seems to be a growing argument of which network or publication is “real,” and which is “fake” (or “propaganda,” which is rapidly becoming the word of the year). At this point, who’s to say what’s right anymore? Each ‘side’ has its own version of an echo chamber, and it’s getting to the point where we’re all accusing each other of doing things that our side is also guilty of.

It’s a confusing time for sure, and it’s not always easy to separate right from wrong. Instead, everything is starting blend into one another, with no resounding ideal to drag us back from the edge of insanity.

What’s right? What’s correct? What, if anything, is there to cleave onto as we wade through a never-ending cycle like the one we’re stuck in?

I think it’s time we err on the side of human decency to get us through the day.

We’re inundated by negativity with just one quick visit to any of the major social media sites these days. Someone is mad at a news story, or one internet personality is causing drama with another. We’re mired in misery, yet somehow told to pull through and look at all the good and historic moments happening in the country. I ask, how is that feat accomplished when no one seems to have a good word to say about their opposition? I’m not saying we need to praise each other blindly, but there’s not a sense of healthy competition anymore. It’s us versus them. You’re either with us, or against us. There’s no embracing of the similarities once we wick away our differences.

Of course, one counterargument to this proposal is people are allowed to be angry. But how that anger is channeled says a lot more about you than it does at the person you unleash it on. Are you content with calling someone a nasty name and flinging an ad hominem? Or would you rather express your anger at existing injustice that needs to be paid attention to?

I can’t tell you who is right or what to pay attention to, because that decision remains with you. You can stick to your convictions without being dismissive of the other line of thinking. That, in my opinion, is the decent thing to do.

Underneath the choppiness of the waves lies a calming depth that we haven’t even started to sink into. We don’t want serenity because it’s far more fun to bounce about in the chaos above the calm. But storms always pass, and attention out of negativity will always wane.

I’m tired of rocking the boat. We’re due for some smooth sailing. It’s there, past the horizon. You just have to want to see it.

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