A few days ago, I was sitting in my office reading the morning newspaper and it dawned on me that every story and every commentary were all negative. As I flipped through page after page, I couldn’t find even one story that was positive and uplifting. The stories ranged from global and international strife and chaos to how divided we Americans are as we head into what will be a brutal presidential contest to how we’re responding to COVID-19 — every last piece was negative.
What happened to the good news? When I was growing up in South Carolina, despite how challenging things were during those times, you could always find uplifting stories that encouraged unity and brought our family and community together. There were inspirational stories about people who had accomplished their dreams or had overcome perceivably insurmountable odds. There were stories of survival that taught us that you can successfully persevere through even the most challenging situations.
I remember stories about family unity and the importance of sticking together, no matter what. Now, news outlets carry stories about families breaking apart, if they exist at all. It’s rare to read about people coming together to help neighbors or strangers. In fact, when such a story is told, it sometimes goes viral because these stories are so rare. Think about that: It’s rare to read stories about people helping each other because so much of our existence has become focused on the negative and consumption with only self.
Living with constant negativity affects us all in ways that are invisible to the naked eye. If you allow it to, you run the risk of being consumed by negativity. When that occurs, you bring it with you to every environment you enter, and to every person you encounter, and from there it can spread like wildfire. Human beings cannot exist and function in the bowels of darkness forever. At some point, we need light before we infect every aspect of our existence with hate and negativity.
We must all ask ourselves what role we have in spreading positivity, because each act of kindness produces something fruitful whether we realize it or not. Perhaps that is the problem; perhaps we don’t realize — or even worse, we have forgotten — just how much of an impact even the smallest gesture can have.
Have you wondered what happened to good news? If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, let me expound a little on the good ol’ days when you could turn on the news, or maybe your favorite show, and see positive stories or uplifting shows about family and faith. It once was important in American journalism to have a balance in the types of stories that were reported.
Perhaps it’s that so many people in our society have become conditioned to thinking about only the bad things in life. If you’re constantly bombarded with negative images about how you should feel, or that the world around you is in an unstoppable state of decline, attempting to hold any hope for your future and about things to come is nearly impossible. It’s like the old saying, “You are what you eat”; well, you also are what you watch and listen to.
We must turn the tables on this chapter to heal our nation of what is becoming an incurable infection. The first step is to turn off the news. Yes, we should all be informed, but read a newspaper or limit yourself to watching only 20 minutes’ worth of news per day. Turn off the TV and the social media, spend more time with your family and friends and, while with them, encourage them to do the same with other families and people of different backgrounds. My final recommendation would be to spend more time doing the things that make you happy and bring you joy. This time of the COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the most opportune time to do such a thing.
Hold tight your loved ones. Begin a new chapter of peace and prosperity that will change your life for the better and help usher in a new chapter for America. If we each dedicate ourselves to a more peaceful and positive way of life, America may continue to be one of the greatest nations that the world has ever seen.
Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. He is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.”