Has anyone noticed the trend in national news broadcasting, NBC but one that plays to our emotions with heart wrenching stories of grief in the aftermath of disasters. They attract and hold our attention, whether it’s a plane with two hundred plus people disappearing, a mudslide that wipes away houses, the sinking of a ferry, or another calamity, each followed by the grief of relatives, the streaming tears, wails of despair, agony of waiting in the case of Flight 270, not to mention the unending war in Syria or the about to be war in Ukraine. These disasters and wars fuel our emotions, night after night and what pours from our living rooms is pity, sympathy, despair until, of course, you get to the “feel good” story at the end of the broadcast, most recently the triumph of amputees competing in the Boston Marathon, whose admiration and sympathy are deserved, but it’s another emotional well that’s pumped by the major networks night after night. PBS is probably the only station left that analyzes and discusses for more than a minute, the news. Major networks have, of course, never until now faced the competition of the internet. Verbal and visual communication is instantly and freely available to millions here and billions worldwide. So it’s up to us to tell the major networks–a more targeted approach to what Peter Finch’s Howard Beale did so loudly. He showed how mad he was about what was going on in the world. So raise your windows and yell your outrage. Or if you’re like me, post something. Safer, because opening a window and howling half the night could land you in an asylum, a quiet, lonely one.
And no, I’m not talking about the card game my wife can find with a click of her mouse, I’m talking about the more literal meaning of the word, as in building a bridge to other people. They’ve all been built, you say, but they haven’t, not completely, even with Facebook, Twitter, and all that instant texting from IPhones. What’s missing is the automatic translation from one language to another of messages sent from one country to another. To Japan, say, or Libya. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a Bridge website we could log onto, enter our passwords, scan messages from various parts of the world, the followers and the following, and then weigh in with our own views on this or that. And if we have any, offer our problem solving skills. How to dig a deep enough trench, say, outside of Tripoli during the upcoming siege. For those left behind we could offer a recipe for that pecan pie they’ve never had, or advice about flossing. Or just say we’re thinking of them, praying for them. To show the depth of our sincerity we could I Photo pictures of our loved ones, close ups, no flat screen televisions in the background, no Mercedes Benzes in the driveway, nor any portion of our five thousand square foot houses. We could, over time, Bridge our way to world peace. Couldn’t we?