The search for love in a world of hate

I have never been very good at keeping up with the news, but lately I’ve been making a conscious effort to stay more informed—maybe because summer is making me restless, maybe because the hype of next year’s elections is infectious, who knows.

The problem is, staying informed is damn depressing.

I mean, seriously, the top stories on my Flipboard right now are “Charleston Church Attack Suspect Charged with 9 Murder Counts,” “Terror attacks, deaths up sharply in 2014: State Department,” “Ten dead after attack linked to gangs in northern Mexico,” and “Gunfight in Cincinnati street leaves officer, armed man dead.” It’s difficult news to swallow. It’s bewildering. I want to shut off the TV, close all my news sites, and drink my chamomile tea while watching Game of Thrones. Because at least the violence in that is fictional. The violence on the news is real.  

I’ve lived in a safe suburban bubble most of my life, so call me naïve or even call me insensitive but for the most part I haven’t felt a strong connection to the increased hate and violence in the world—it was never in the local newspapers that landed on my front doorstep. But recently, my Facebook newsfeed has been full of angry statuses condemning the latest shootings (notice the plural) and amid the pretty photography and silly gifs on my Tumblr newsfeed, I was hit with a reblogged condolence speech by Obama.

In a casual conversation with my mom about going to the city, I was warned about a criminal in Manhattan who has been specifically attacking Asian women in the past few weeks. I have always considered myself pathetically oblivious to the real world, and yet the real world is crashing into my bubble with alarming force, spelling out the worst parts of humanity with a vividness that is impossible to ignore.  

But you see, now I am at a crossroads. When I sat down to write this post, I had intended to give it an optimistic twist, for it to be a reminder of the love and the good in the world. To assert that despite the negativity that dominates the news, there is a lot to be happy and grateful about, from the little things in our daily lives to the $358 billion that Americans gave to charity last year. But is this hopeful view a lie? Am I just fooling myself? Would the world benefit more from trusting in the good, or confronting the bad?

Either way, I feel helpless. The problem is too big—in fact, I’m not even sure how I would define the problem. All I know is that when it comes to running away from one, I’m usually an Olympic sprinter—but here, now, exposed to the tragedy that is our reality, I am unable tear my eyes away. But staring isn’t going to help anyone.

What am I supposed to do?


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