When did the world perspective shift?
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - August 27, 2017 - 4:00pm

It can get literally exhausting reading the news today. If it’s not corruption scandals it’s death or accidents or hurricanes or you name it. It sometimes feels like the world is falling apart – and in many ways it quite literally is with the environment in the state that it is in today. As someone who has worked in the news for more than half my life I know that bad news is not a new thing. However, we seem to having more than our fair share this past year or past few years. Has it been business as usual or have things gotten progressively worse? And if so, when and why did this start to happen?

I’ve heard it said that the world goes through phases. And I’ve certainly lived long enough to see my fair share so I know there is truth to that expression. There’ll be periods when things are good followed by periods when things are bad. Peaks and valleys as they say. Life is matter of enjoying the peaks and buckling down during the valleys. However, it certainly does seem like this time it’s worse. The valley seems to be exceptionally low, and, let’s be honest, wasn’t preceded by an unnaturally high peak.

I’ve said in so many columns that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. In all honesty that should be amended to “those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.” That makes more sense to me because it honestly doesn’t seem like people don’t know what’s happened in the past – it just seems like they refuse to learn from it and think that stubbornly believe that things are different this time. I guess that’s why they say that the definition of insanity is someone doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

For a while there it seemed that – as a human population – we were finally starting to “get it.” We seemed more inclusive and more caring. We seemed to finally be opening doors to one another and showing more empathy, at least in certain parts of the world. However, that certainly didn’t last long. Today we’re back to a larger portion of the population choosing to be divisive and uncaring.

When did this happen? Or a better question would be why did this happen? It has a lot to do with world politics and the people that we choose to put into power. After all, the leaders of our nation are the ones who steer the ships. Presidents and kings and prime ministers have always been the age-old catalysts for public thinking and, at times, public outrage. The way leaders lead their people and how they provide for them is what can quell or spark a revolution.

For many years, and not just here in the Philippines, leaders have been more empathetic and preaching about tolerance and equality. It just seemed like the years before that were about persecution and oppression so it was only natural that the other side would get their day in the sun. More inclusive leaders like former President Obama were “given the floor” so-to-speak and they ushered in a period that was more empathetic and open. For a while there it seemed like doors around the world were starting to open.

However, despite bringing people closer together it seemed liked it was only a matter of time before those who were in a better position realized that by opening the doors to others who were not, they would actually have a sacrifice some of what they had. And it would only be a matter of time before they realized they didn’t like that. After all, when you think about it, isn’t that more or less what white supremacists were all about in Charlottesville. Their battlecry of “We will not be replaced” is more than telling. Were they beginning to truly see that the hierarchy in races was starting to break down? They couldn’t have that. After all, equality would mean that they would no longer be “above” everyone else.

The world always seems to come down to those that have and those that don’t. This is particularly sad because it’s been proven over and over again that if we could only learn to share there would be more than enough to go around. But that doesn’t happen and instead those of have just want more and those who don’t continue to suffer.

Which brings me to the constant seesaw that is the world. When only a few are in power the majority on the other side cry foul and demand for their share. That continues until it gets so bad that the tide finally moves in their favor. But it doesn’t stop there. For while it might seem like things are getting better or people are moving closer, but in time those who “gave up” some of their power realize it’s not fun sharing and things to go back to the way they were before.

I mean, isn’t that mostly what is happening and continuing to happen around the world. People find themselves unhappy or unsatisfied and demand for “change.” At some point they will do almost anything to get it. They don’t even really know what they want for sure they just know they are unhappy with their present circumstances and assume that a change – any change – would make things better.

But does that actually work? I don’t think so. And history has proven that no matter which side of the pendulum we’re on there are both positives and negatives. In the end we have to realize that in order for an equal world to actually exist we have to be ready to actually live like equals. And that is easier said than done.

*     *     *

Our government needs to start financially planning better. While I am thrilled that the president has given importance to such things as an increase in SSS and free tuition, I also know that these aren’t sustainable in the long run without some serious funding and future planning. In fact, if things don’t change with SSS it may collapse within itself in just a couple of years. And that’s not going to help anyone. The policies are sound – after all, it’s only right that retirees who have contributed so much over the years get more than what they are getting right now. However, strategies and plans have to be put into place that can help sustain this for the long run.

Let’s try not to be one-day millionaires in these situations and find ways to sustain good programs. Hearing great news today means nothing if it’s taken back tomorrow.

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