So many American citizens just don’t want to be here anymore. They do not consider themselves suicidal, simply because they have no intention of acting on their feeling. What has happened inside a culture that has more wealth, more technology, more housing, food, energy and communication than any other nation, or combination of nations, on earth? How did so many people come to be silent and now feel that they’d rather be dead than go on? Joseph Campbell used to write and talk about the power of myth. His great PBS video series and book about the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers interviewing and editing, was material that the masses ate up. Campbell wasn’t afraid for future generations, and he wrote further about the power of storytelling and the necessity of fictional characters for the rest of humanity to believe in, and then try to live up to those character’s expressed actions and beliefs. Campbell wrote the story that became Star Wars, the movie series. What would Campbell think today if he was still alive? What would he think of an evil imperium that his own beloved adopted country has seemed to slip as easily into the role as a baby-powdered hand slides into a glove?

When Joseph Campbell was alive, the mass media had really just begun its reporting about the ‘bad news’. Today what has become the bad news? Everything, because good news does not ‘sell.’ Fear sells. News that induces fear sells really, really well. Every television news station in the country leads every day’s news (usually several times a day), with stories of murder and felonious assaults committed somewhere nearby. And the murder numbers are terribly inflated. Seventeen thousand people were killed violently in 2016, across the whole country. Five thousand were suicides. That leaves a remainder of twelve thousand. That’s thirty-two people a day. In the whole country. How is it that every news outlet across the land will portray murders that happened today, yesterday and the days before? Thirty-two for fifty states. Fifty pretty big states, which means that this violence, so pervasively presented by the mass media everywhere, is mostly happening in big cities. New York had 330 murders in all of 2017. It also had 9 million people. Murder is not portrayed as it really occurs on television. In the show NYPD, the homicide cops in one borough numbered at least twelve, and those detectives were terribly overworked. On the show. In reality, New York is split up into five boroughs. Less than one murder a day for the whole year would never allow for sixty, or so, police detectives to investigate. But that’s television. Two hundred and twenty of those murders have gone uncharged, by the way, also not the kind of clearance rate readily commented on in the news, or in television shows.

America is suffering from an induced depression. The news is depressing, forcing many people not to want to live in such a miserable country anymore. And it’s all based on lies. America has little crime, compared to its population size. America is bountiful, economically well off, and there are jobs for nearly everyone, even if a majority of the population must work more than one of them at a time to make it.

It is fear that has been beaten into the minds of the American public. American’s buy so many guns because they are afraid of what they don’t know may be coming, because it is always coming on the television set. Americans store billions of tons of canned food until the cans expire because they are afraid of some coming catastrophe that isn’t coming. What will it take for our country to look up into the light and stop hiding from the dark?

What happened to the limitless unbounded enthusiasm and great cheer of America’s youth. I stood with 10,000 other people at Disneyland watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon. The cheering was deafening. How do we get that attitude back?

~ James Strauss


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