Optimism difficult, but necessary

I try to maintain a positive outlook on life. However, I will admit that were you to ask my family and friends, they would tell you I do a fairly lousy job of it.

In my defense, when I look at the world today, I can’t help but think that even the most “glass half full” folks out there must wonder if said glass has sprung a leak.

As I write this, the country is trying to process the senseless killings of a TV news reporter and photographer by a deranged former co-worker. Not only did this man murder his victims on live television, he shot video of the whole thing and posted it on social media before killing himself.

Closer to home, two more shootings occurred in Indianapolis last night. Anymore, that’s a fairly quiet evening for Indy’s police department.

In the past few days many of us have watched our retirement funds take a big hit as the stock market plunged. I don’t claim to understand the workings of the stock market, but best I can tell, millions of Americans lost a chunk of their retirement savings because some people were worried about the slowing of China’s economy.

Or maybe some government minister is Greece defaulted on his bar tab, causing investors to panic. Who knows? Both explanations make the same amount of sense to me.

Am I the only one who thinks there needs to be a better way for Americans to save for retirement than playing stock market roulette?

In the Middle East, Islamic State group is brutally murdering anyone who gets in its way and even those who don’t. The terror group also is destroying priceless antiquities and thousands of years of cultural heritage. It has spread its message of hate around the globe, inspiring all manner of terror attacks.

And nobody seems able (or willing) to stop it.

How much longer will the rest of the world let this continue? Are we so weary of fighting an unnecessary war that we’re not willing to do what is necessary to stop the greatest threat to peace since World War II?

Here at home, our federal government is completely dysfunctional and shows no sign of coming to its senses. We have enough presidential candidates to start a marching band. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, none of them is qualified to polish George Washington’s or Abe Lincoln’s boots, let alone fill their shoes.

Instead of meaningful political discourse, these would-be leaders of the free world trade insults via Twitter: “I know you are, but what am I?” I’m not even sure they’re qualified to lead a marching band.

People are angry, and rightfully so.

Closer to home, Jared Fogle, Indianapolis native and longtime pitchman for Subway, recently pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography and having sex with minors. Yuck. I have a photo I shot of Jared and my wife standing side by side after he autographed a copy of his book for her in Columbus a few years ago. He’s got his arm around her. Yuck.

I could go on and on about drugs, health care, the environment, etc., but you get the point.

Still, easy as it is to believe that the world has gone insane, I think it’s important that I try to be as positive about the future as I can. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot more than my rapidly shrinking retirement fund invested in the future. I’m talking about my children and grandchildren.

In order to sleep at night, I have to believe that things aren’t as bad as I think they are, or if they are, that they will get better. I have to believe that my five grandchildren won’t grow up in a world where the cup is empty.

I think of them every time I see news footage of kids their age struggling to survive in refugee camps or dodging rockets that have already killed their parents.

So, despite my sometimes gloomy outlook, I remain positive that the people of Earth will wake up soon and realize that no matter our race, religion, age, political party, sexual orientation or any of the other things we use to label and divide, we are all the same.

Things will get better. They simply must.