By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
As I get older, I relate more and more to some of the old sayings that my elders used to pass along. One of the things said that was funny, if a little morbid, was that when they read the paper, they always made sure that they read the obituaries because if they didn’t see their name listed, that they were good for another day on earth.
We are bombarded with stories of death and destruction every day from the news media. Our newspapers, radio and television news lead with stories of drought, flood, hurricane, earthquake, terrorism, riots and murder. Oh, they will put a nice, fluffy story at the end of a report, trying to “end on a good note”, but their bread and butter is mayhem.
It is not necessarily the news media’s fault, at least not alone. Just like any other consumer product, if we did not have an appetite for it, the media could not sell it to us. Like thrill seekers going to stock car races, we consume tragedy like it is the order of our every day. Those race enthusiasts might not come out and say that they want to see a crash, but let a pile-up happen and discussion about who won the race will be secondary to talking about the crash.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to live in the positive. I am not talking about keeping my head in the sand and ignoring the negative, but I do think that somehow we need to stop accentuating it. As I was coming in to work today, listening to the local National Public Radio station, there was a report about a group of Canadians who were posting messages on social media complimenting America, telling Americans to look on the bright side of things and expressing their appreciation that America was still a great country with many great people – a little happy news in the midst of many telling us how wrong and bad we are. We as Americans, and particularly we as Cherokee people, have much to be proud of and thankful for. Sometimes that gets lost in all the scandal and negativity that we are continually exposed to.
Recently, a birth announcement was sent to the One Feather. It is the first one I had seen in a long time. With all the negative that you tend to see in the media, there is nothing like a good birth announcement to give you hope and make you feel like there is still good in the world. Children represent our hope for the future…that things will go on.
With the advent of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you can’t even announce the birth of a baby without a special consent form. Back in the day, there were whole newspaper pages that were devoted to birth announcements and weddings. Weddings are another thing that have fallen away from mainstream print and media. It used to be that one of the first things a person did when they decided to get married was to announce that to the world through a message and picture in the paper. And, folks would proudly tell others about their fifth or fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Now, with a national divorce rate above 50 percent, you see more news about domestic violence and celebrity break-ups than couples tying the knot. Now, instead of celebrating unions, we are debating the definition of a union.
I encourage you to continue to send your positive news items to the One Feather. Yes, we will still have to print those items that are not uplifting because that is a part of life, but my hope is that we will continue to find ways to accentuate the positive. I want to celebrate those births with your family, and I want our readership to do so as well. When you and yours win an award or decide to get hitched, this community would love to share in the celebration.
There is much that is wrong in this world, but there certainly much that is right. Maybe there is some type of gastric by-pass surgery we could have performed on our minds and hearts so that our appetite for scandal and mayhem would be curbed. It is like the old folktale about the good dog and the bad dog that are battling inside you. The one that will win and survive will be the one that you feed.