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In Need of a Little Good News

So it is official — we are in a recession.  As if we common folk were not able to read the signs over the past months ourselves, today the announcement from the National Bureau of Economic Research made it official.  And most economists predict this current downturn will be the most severe since the 1981-82 recession.  Sounds just like it looks outside my window today:  dark gray and gloomy. 

This news doesn’t depress me because it really doesn’t feel like “news.”  They say we have been in this recession since December of 2007.  Certainly the telltale signs have been making themselves known since that time.  What does depress me is another sign of the greedy and gluttony in America.  More specifically, I mean the man who was trampled to death at the Wal-Mart in New York on Black Friday. Even with the weekend to process it, this Zen Mama Wannabe still can’t get my head around what happened. 

We are so eager for a deal that we will wake up in the dark to stand in line for hours outside a storefront?  We are so excited for a sale that we will push and shove our way in through the doors once they open, with no regard for even a semblance of order or control?  We will trounce on top of human bodies and not stop for a second (not even for just one second) just to save some money on a TV?  What is wrong with this picture?!

Some people are saying this economic "downturn" (a polite way to say "crisis" if you ask me) is really a good thing because it is going to teach us about saving and controlling our spending, etc.  Well, apparently we need it more than ever.  Because we are trampling people to DEATH all over a markdown tag.  It makes me ill inside.

Today I hung up some wreaths and started unpacking boxes of Christmas decorations.  I do love this season, the kids are SO excited (about everything – it really is very joyous), but my heart feels a bit heavy nonetheless.  On top of the horrific attacks in Mumbai, we have innocent people being trampled right here in our country while others push their way in to shop for bargains. 

A woman who was there at that Wal-Mart that morning said it was the most terrifying thing she has ever experienced.  She too was knocked down by the crowd as she helped a little boy who was already on the ground.  She said in an interview that she immediately started fearing for her life.  All for some price cuts.  I doubt she would say it was worth it now.  

The man who was trampled to death, by the way, was 6 feet 5 and 270 pounds.  The Police Commissioner said shoppers would have had to step over, around or ON the victim to get inside the store.   Really paints the picture, doesn’t it?

It would seem we are in many ways VERY out of touch.  Maybe as 2008 winds down and a new year begins, we as a country will start to “get it.”  I hope so.  For all our sakes. 

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3 Responses to “In Need of a Little Good News”

  1. callieandbatido Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    The horor of someone dying, for “a good deal”, will remain in my memory forever. We have to ask ourselves, in the middle of a recession, what are WE doing to curb OUR spending and take a reality check? It is a scary economy out there right now and I think many of us continue to be surprised when it hits us personally. But until we are willing to STOP and wait until we can afford something before buying it (a lesson our parents and grandparents certainly learned the hard way) we are in for scary times. We are the “Now” and “Us” generation….how do we get off the tredmill?

  2. LarkLady Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    We’re ALL probably in need of some good news, although I suspect you won’t get it from today’s media. But I was reflecting the other day that I don’t think things are particularly worse now than they were at any other particular time before… The big difference — the HUGE difference! — is that we hear about it 1) immediately and 2) from dozens of sources, repetitively. News stories from the source are on TV, radio, the internet, and Twittered to your cell phone or computer while it’s happening; a hundred years ago, most events we are now bombarded with wouldn’t have ever shown up in the newspaper — and those that did lacked the impact of immediacy. We don’t just hear about it today: we see it on the news and on YouTube.

    It’s easy to lose track of all the good that is going on under our noses, but it’s there. A child needs a bone marrow transplant; because we have the means to make that need known over a widespread area, more people register in the donor bank, increasing the likelihood of a match. That’s just one example; you can all think of others.

    So look for the good news… and spread it around, because others need to hear it, too! We need to learn wiser spending habits, but we need to learn wiser spiritual habits, too — passing along good news, doing random acts of kindness for no other reason than that it’s a nice thing to do!

    The world will be better for it, and individually we’ll each be better for it.

  3. ZenMama Wannabe Says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Yes LarkLady, modern technology as it relates to communication is definitely a 2-edged sword with both good and bad points. But even if we tune out the bad news, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. And THAT it is even happening (a man being trampled to death by eager Wal-Mart shoppers for example) is the problem.

    I agree it is important to focus on the good and spread more of that along. I truly believe the old adage that you get more of what you focus on. But, I don’t think we should lose sight of the other stuff (the sad, horrific or shocking). It shows us where we are as a society and what we need to work on. Maybe…if we could focus even just a little on solving those underlying problems, we would have more good news all around. As my kids love to say, “It COULD happen.” 🙂

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