July 23 2004


It is tough being an Optimist in these trying times

As the line in the Porgy and Bess opera goes “Summertime and the livin’ is easy” and that is the way it should be. Family vacations, treks to the beach, a day at the ball park, and hardly a care in the world. Summer is a time to let go a bit and take a few weeks to enjoy the fruits of our labors, a time to relax.

This is the way summer should be spent, but this summer relaxing is the furthest thing from reality. The stress is at level 3.

Beyond the obvious Viet Nam like quagmire we find ourselves in with Iraq, this is also a Presidential election year and it has already degraded into the mud. The name calling and attacks have been in full swing and we haven’t even gone through the nominating conventions yet. It is only going to get worse from here.

Vice President Dick Cheney is using four letter words to cuss out Democrats. Linda Ronstadt causing an uproar, at her concerts, with her support of “Fahrenheit 9/11”. Our Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, calling our Legislators “girlie men”.

Then there is reality TV which is the furthest thing from reality, making television unwatchable. Sports is no longer about sports, it is all about drugs-doping. The Olympic trials, the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong, baseball all have the specter of doping hanging over it.

The Olympics start next month and the threat of a terroists attack hangs over these games like smog on a bad day in Los Angeles.

Martha Stewart, Ken Lay, gas gouging, hotel room rate gouging, rolling black outs. Nope this is not an easy livin’ type of summer.

This sense of gloom starts from the top, with the President, our self proclaimed “war President”, the Senate Reports on 9/11 and the debunking of the reasons for going to war. Then there is the upcoming elections which has polarized our country in ways never seen before. As we look to the upcoming elections, not only the Presidential but the full slate of candidates from Senators to water board races, we have to start making decisions that reflect our own best interest. The personal guides that we have used in the past have not served us well. It is time to stop, think and evaluate our decisions.

Optimism is being crushed by the pessimism that abounds. It is time to stop and think about what is important, family, faith, fellow man, and build on the positives that we draw from these.

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