We all know how to save the world. We do it every weekend with each other online with a controller and keyboard. We slay beasts, titans, leviathans; we gain great power together and with it conquer greater foes. We play at Myth. We play at our stories of the world.
Everyday Heroes: A man in small-town Kentucky. An Uncle and Nephew team in Mexico. A young woman in Canada. A Grandfather in Scotland. A Mother in Japan. A pair of brothers in Brazil. All of them grouped together three days out of the week, slaying monsters together.
Millions and millions of us laugh over headsets, scream at each other for small failures, then laugh at the screams, ragging on each other like the closest of sports teams. Some groups work at the same goal for hours, days, weeks, and even years.
Then we log-off, turn on the news, and it’s Hell everywhere.
The world doesn’t suffer because we plug our ears with the sound of video games.
The world suffers because we don’t listen to them.
The Hell on the screen of video games and the one shown on the Evening News is not that different. We have Titans of industry. Invisible viral locusts. Trolls who sap a hero’s will to press on. Dark forces lurk everywhere. We commit murders, hate crimes, oppression, war, the list goes on.
Myth represents reality today. Right now. Lift your eyes from the page. Yes, that reality. That main difference is not in the fantastical nature of one. The most significant distinction between the myths in the video games and the stories on the nightly news is not one of experience. It is this: The Hell In-Game. We kick that Hell’s ass. Together.
Again: We do know how to save the world; we prove it every day.
The Real News is not reality, but a rendition of reality, a bleak landscape of pestilence and paranoia with small smatters of pride.
But kindness, goodwill, tolerance, hope, and helping each other exist. Love still exists. Why don’t we see that reality on the screen? Whose reality do we see when we see The Real News? And why are the stories we write of the rhythm of our collective experience still called Fake News?
Because some fool comes on Facebook to report that a battalion of angry chickens is in a full preparatory military march outside The Lincoln Memorial, does not mean we ought to believe him. The Real/Fake problem is one of common sense, belief in community, and trust in personal judgment.
We ought to take every report of the news with the same apprehension. If we watch a moron report a train-wreck, then what we see is a moron’s interpretation of a train wreck. Not fake. Stupid, maybe. Ignorant, sure. But, not fake.
In fact, in a way, it is real-er than the Real News. Because it is not dead cold and a hundred times removed from the human experience, nor is it whitewashed for ratings. The human heart is in it.
And the human heart has no place in the Real News.
Atrocities happen, and we must report them. But why fixate on them?
There is more compassion going on in your town right now than carnage. But until a friendly hug starts a fistfight, friendship will never make the real news.
“Nobody wants to watch people being kind,” people say. What people? It’s not me. I’d rather watch a man rescue a cat then shoot it in the head.
Keep reporting on injustice, yes. But the focus must lean on reports of justice.
What would our world look like through a lens of compassion rather than a veil of skepticism?
What if good news was Good News?
A Free Press is essential to ensure the well-being of our country. The Fourth Branch of Government is the forcefield of Liberty and critical for our welfare. But, in America today, no institution costs us more than the Free Press. Our media limits our line of sight, cuts our hearts from the reel, and pulls our pathos from every pixel.
Until we know who holds the cameras, the first, foremost, and only news story worth attention is: Who is making our news? And why are they making it look like that?
Here is a call for a free and freed Free Press to investigate those questions with honesty, integrity, and transparency. So that means every one of us, because, in America today, a free press means a fake press.
We see in the current COVID climate what a difference an open and honest dialogue can make, how every citizen’s opinion matters so much. That, when we sound our voices together, matters of the heart and soul of our country; overwhelmingly, sound out in harmony.
From that spirit of unity, empathy, and solidarity, we give each other the right to vote. We create our country through a silent pact agreed upon every day, that each of us has the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
But take a truth as self-evident for too long, that truth goes unguarded, and an undefended truth twists fast into propaganda. Somewhere we lost our sense of solidarity, and Liberty herself is now up for sale.
This last year brought us together and reminded us that we still believe in each other. That, each one of us gives the gift of America to every one of us every day. That, we are the only medium of media that can ever truthfully dictate to each other our values. Our true Real.
We make the News; the News does not make us.