I woke up this morning to an NPR (maybe only in CT NPR) story about a new state law that gives restaurant workers and others paid sick days. The story continued that polls said that there was bipartisan support for the bill (among citizens) and that people who voted against it were viewed “unfavorably”.
Yesterday, the Hartford Courant had an article about the riots in Britain that said there was widespread problems with morality there. It was not just that the vandals and looters showed no respect for property or others, as the Prime Minister had said recently. Both a conservative paper and a liberal paper there had written op-ed pieces that said there were problems everywhere — at all class levels, at all ages, across color lines, etc. In short, these papers said that there had been moral bankruptcy at all levels of society and it wasn’t working well for anybody anymore. “Perhaps”, said one of the articles, “the era of ‘Greed is Good’ is over”.
In more national news, more than a thousand people, including friends of our family, Tom Carr and Judy Allen have been arrested protesting the Obama administrations decision to send tar sands (a controversial method of getting oil) to Texas from Canada. Likewise, environmentalists who are upset that Mr. Obama decided to wait a few more years to lower emissions standards. Robert Redford, who supported Obama, is now re-thinking that decision based on environmental concerns. Obama apparently decided to stall the emissions changes to help businesses. Regardless of how you see Obama’s decision, there are real changes in the wind.
People are starting to think of others. People are starting to look at themselves and take responsibility for their own failings. People are starting to realize that, politicians in Washington are not the end-all-be-all of getting things done. In a year when every known catastrophe has happened in some place we don’t normally expect, people outside of Washington think there’s something wrong with the environment. Politics and economics and arguing who’s right/who’s wrong don’t much matter if we’re all dead or there’s not a planet to put industry on. And in Washington itself, people are starting to demand that those who govern actually do something, rather than posturing about various issues.
It’s not just the actions that people are taking, it’s that people are taking action at all. They see that it’s up to them to make a difference rather than politicians doing it for them (even if, like me, they wish politicians would help). In addition to that, there seems to be an attitude change. Maybe enough people have become poor or unemployed now that they understand how hard life is for those who need assistance. Maybe now, enough folks have compassion because they’ve been there. Maybe people are trusting their own experience more than what they’re told by people with a chance to make a dollar. Whatever it is, these stories tell us we are caring more about the big things like each other or the planet, rather than little things like who wore the same dress or how much money Donald Trump is giving to his most recent wife.
I know that this is a random sampling of news and that things may actually be getting worse, but I like thinking there might be more to it.