I am an optimist. I also think that for the most part, people are good at heart. Perhaps I think that because I am an optimist but maybe it is the other way around. It could be that my trust in humanity makes me believe that the future is bright.
In recent years however, I have begun to notice a disturbing selfishness that seems to be taking root in society. This may be because I live in a fairly transient portion of the country where economic growth and a great climate have attracted a rapidly growing population. This means that there are lots of people around me with no deep roots in the community and no strong ties to one another. That’s a plausible explanation. Perhaps.
Of course, one can always find a feel-good story about a heroic deed or profound altruism to buttress the case for humanity’s enduring virtues. But I am more swayed by the broad patterns of activity evident in more widespread, national discussions such as those about healthcare reform and immigration for example.
It seems that no one is willing to sacrifice on the quality of their medical coverage to ensure that those with no access to care can get minimal coverage. Many want inexpensive immigrant labor but do not wish to see the same immigrants who provide that labor consuming educational or healthcare resources in the community. These attitudes worry me.
Silly as it seems, I think sports can sometimes provide snapshots of the mass mind-set. When twenty thousand Lakers fans in Staple Center boo the National Anthem before a game against the Rockets because the lyrics include “rocket’s red glare”, I worry about our collective wellbeing. However, when forty thousand Red-Sox fans give Nomar a standing ovation, my faith is restored.