'It's all over the news.'
Did that get your attention? Good, because this post is not about what's all over the news. Whatever is all over the news really isn't an accurate portrayal of the world we live in. We criticize the media for spinning just about everything, but then we make its headlines our main topics of conversation. In the meantime, we ignore the news that really matters, the things happening in our local, county and state governments that affect us a whole lot more than things happening on the other side of the world or in our federal government.
Who's the mayor of your town? Who's the superintendent of you public schools? Who is your local police chief? Many of us don't even know. What does it take for us to pay more attention to the real news? The principle of subsidiarity, which isn't even a word recognized by MS Word apparently, could solve most problems in the world. Most problems in the world can be solved on the local level, yet when was the last time the news told us to attend a local town meeting, start a community garden or host a local fundraiser?
"It's all over the news" is what I hear friends say when I tell them I don't know anything about the latest big headline that has absolutely no affect on me. I ask them, "What news sources exactly qualify for this dignified name the 'news'" because to me the news is how much my local school taxes are going up, what stores they're putting in the new strip mall down the road, and what they're doing about that abandoned lot down the street. But for some reason these topics don't come up in normal conversation. We prefer talking about... well, whatever 'the news' tells us to talk about.
I'm not saying we should ignore what's happening on the global level, but I would just like to make two more points before shutting up. First, if we're going to think globally, we need to take those ideas and apply them locally whatever way we can. Yes, the 'Think global. Act local.' bumper sticker makes a good point, yet when I tell people how their global concerns can be put into action on a local level they laugh because they've basically given up on having an impact in their own community. They prefer complaining about issues they feel they can do nothing about.
Secondly, the news on every station isn't automatically the biggest global issue just because the news agencies have made it so for them. What bothers me more than anything about global or national stories is that they are so obviously selective. There is more happening around the world and nation than the things happening on the political, economic and entertainment level. For instance, did you know that more Christians are being persecuted in our times than in any other time in history? Or did you know that, looking back historically, the people and groups that have had the most impact on society weren't that well-known in their lifetime? Sometimes I fell like the media is distracting us from the things that really matter.