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By Tom McDonald
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Opinion: Searching for reason for optimism


Last updated 11/8/2022 at 4:06pm

Sometimes I feel like an optimist in search of a reason to still feel that way. I want to believe in what’s good about this world, but writing about the issues of our time can be depressing.

I’m penning this column in advance of this year’s general election results, so I don’t know who won and who lost. I’ve already written about my frustrations with this election cycle, including all the fears that have been espoused on both sides of the political divide, so even if I were to spin some optimism into the mix, you wouldn’t buy it.

Win, lose or draw, we still have 2024 to dread.

Meanwhile, the marketplace is abuzz with Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, as if our lives hinge on what he does with this artificially important social media site.

Media outlets are beginning to draw comparisons between Musk and the former twit-in-chief Donald Trump, both of whom have supersized egos and certainly don’t deserve the deference a lot of people give them.

We could collectively put a stop to their nonsense by simply abandoning the platform and finding somewhere else to post our one-liners and all-important links, but no, we’re more inclined to let the billionaires run our lives because, well, money is our god.

Maybe I’d find something to believe in if Musk gets so full of himself that he wrecks Twitter and sends it down the tubes, where MySpace, Google+ and other once-powerful platforms now reside. Wouldn’t bother me a bit. Hell, you can throw in Facebook and Google for all I care, as long as they’re replaced by internet platforms more interested in building up our world than monetizing it. But of course, that won’t happen because of our aforementioned god.

In the past, I’ve found wonderful reasons to believe that we are indeed progressing as a human species.

Diversity was generating a celebration of differences, but now it’s politicized. Ideals such as equality and justice for all were integral parts of your national identity; now I’m hearing people say we need less democracy, not more, as if it’s their way or the highway.

I guess the only “god” more powerful than money is “me and mine” — and everyone else be damned.

There are countless reasons why we’re selfish creatures, with self-preservation being at the top of the list. In a world filled with hate and division, we’ve got to protect ourselves from those who would do us harm.

But if that’s all we see, we’re doomed to a sad and defensive life.

So I search for more, and by golly, I think I found it.

It’s in the power of relationships. And community. That’s where our better angels reside.

One thing I’ve noticed about life is that the more you give, the more you receive. It starts with each of us, and then it returns. And that’s the best reason I can think of to be optimistic.

Besides, regardless of how this year’s election turned out, it’s over. Maybe now we can shed some of our fears and focus on what’s really important: taking care of each other.

Tom McDonald is editor of the New Mexico Community News Exchange. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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