4 May 2023 NPR’s Morning Edition: Jake’s Takes on the Tragic Condition of our Daily News

Some forms of trauma overwhelm most humans’ capacity to respond in a meaningful way. We are witnessing a period of history when the public has become overwhelmed by the trauma of tragedy, domestically and internationally. It has become our daily bread.

We must respond to these outcomes with adverse action. It is not a fight as much as it is an adventure in overcoming. The time is ripe to abandon selfish endeavors and to strive collectively to strengthen our bonds and to heal our mental conditions. Everyone who is able, now is your time to contribute to our common good. Justice is about the common good, not merely punishing those who hurt us. We can make things better. We just need to decide to apply ourselves in this noble pursuit.

What actions can we take to make things better? We are living in a culture of division, a time of distrust. The antidote to this poison is to create connections, to prove ourselves worthy of trust. We create our culture, and if we begin to speak and act with kindness and regard for other people, our goodness will overwhelm the evil we encounter. It will also make it appear more obvious who is for the common good and who is not.

1.    Unlikely connection: college students in Ukraine and the U.S. form a bond. This is such a divisive time in U.S. culture, and the question of what we should do in Ukraine is just one more example of how we cannot agree on anything. It is enough to make you question everything. How far into our echo chambers have be descended? I’m glad that U.S. college students are bonding with students from Ukraine, but I wish that we had a tighter bond here. People are shooting their neighbors for knocking on their door. The madness has to stop. What can address this level of mental unrest?

2.    There’s a toxic brew of mistrust toward U.S. institutions. It’s got real consequences. How can U.S. institutions regain the public’s trust? We have a cultural problem and it requires a cultural solution. There is no way to regain trust without communication. That’s what it is going to take and I hope that we start that process soon.

3.    Jurors weigh a verdict for 5 Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy. Being a traitor to the country is a serious charge because it is a serious crime. The January 6th event should have us united, but it doesn’t. People still think that Trump should be president. Maybe these charges will help to underline how toxic and anti-democratic their actions were, but I doubt it. They were attempting a coup. That’s what happens when democracies are unraveling. We have to take this issue seriously.

4.    A dying oak tree, older than Chicago’s founding, was recently cut down by the city. It’s pretty amazing that an oak tree could last that long, but it also reminds us how young our nation is. There are Redwoods that are four or five time older than the country. We are a young culture and we are still going through growing pains, but we have to get back to a more united position where we can choose a positive direction for all of us. That’s the only way a democracy can work.

5.    Serbia is in the midst of 3 days of national mourning after deadly school shooting. The fact that the entire country takes three days of mourning to deal with the aftermath of a school shooting shows just how different things are in this country. We have so many of them it is not even addressed on a national level. The White House will issue a statement, the press will cover the story, but there is no united action to do anything. We need to turn this thing around and make it more uncommon so that it is not normalized.

6.    John Legend knows the obstacles of life after prison. He wants you to know them too. I’m curious to know more about this. How does John Legend know about life after prison? What does he want to teach the public?

7.    Artificial Intelligence comes with risks. How can companies develop AI responsibly? At this point, it seems highly unlikely that we have any ability to control what happens with AI. It seems like we are left with home and maybe some shred of the ability to defend ourselves if things go wrong. AI is here and it is going to make some big changes in how we do things. Now is the time to adapt, not to consider responsible practices. It’s just like any other source of power: people will pursue it and we are going to have to learn how to protect ourselves from their malicious intent. I’m less worried about AI than I am the people who intend to use it for their personal gain.

8.    Post-pandemic, even hospital care goes remote. Some of the changes made during the pandemic can be seen as good. The switch to remote services may be one of them. Sometimes it is cost prohibitive to show up in person.

9.    As the U.K. preps for Charles’ coronation, what do Britons think of their new king?. It’s been a long time since the U.K. has had a king. I believe that we make a lot out of this kind of thing without much merit. The era of kings has long since passed, and this is a throwback, a cultural regression to an earlier period of history in the west.

10. Michelle Obama launches a food company aimed at healthier choices for kids. This is something that is very badly needed in our culture, but it is also somewhat tricky. Kids are very particular about what they will eat, but the attempt to get them healthier options is a noble one to say the least.

11. The longer fighting goes on in Sudan, the greater the humanitarian catastrophe. When we think about war or fighting we generally measure the casualties and the collateral deaths, but we don’t think about the effect on the economy or the mental health of the population as much. Sudan is undergoing a tragic event and the fighting has caused the hospitals to all but stop their care. It is a scary time for the Sudanese, and let’s hope that this situation resolves sooner than later.

12. Montana judge denies state Rep. Zooey Zephyr’s bid to return to the House floor. It is unfortunately not the biggest surprise to read that Montana is discriminating against their first trans representative. The results of this kind of blatant prejudicial behavior is sure to cause damage and to inflame the issue further.

13. University of Florida is giving an honorary doctorate in music to the late Tom Petty. It might seem kind of futile to bestow a degree upon someone who is deceased, but it sets the example for other musicians. Young people are shown that if they contribute meaningfully to our culture, they will be recognized for their efforts, and this is a good thing.

14. Russia says Ukraine tried to attack the Kremlin in an attempt to assassinate Putin. Who knows if this is true or not, but when a country invades another country assassination seems a high probability. Putin is the person responsible for the attack on Ukraine, so of course they want him dead. The only reason this is a story is because Putin has nuclear weapons at his disposal. That might have been their only chance to stop him.

15. Propublica finds more ties between Justice Thomas and billionaire Harlan Crow. Clarence Thomas has been a national embarrassment since the time of his hearings to be admitted to the Supreme Court. He was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill who testified that Thomas would make sexual statements in the workplace that were offensive and overtly suggestive. Is it any wonder that this man has been using his position of power to enrich himself at the expense of his disinterestedness? Harlan Crow has been playing Thomas like a fiddle for two decades. We need a code of ethics for the Supreme Court, immediately.

16. Even with another cease-fire in Sudan, prospects for peace aren’t bright. Where is the aid for Sudan? We should be doing everything we can to support the people suffering the consequences of this conflict. A cease-fire at least allows the civilians to make some moves to protect themselves. Let’s hope that they are successful in their attempts to find asylum.

17. A suspect in an Atlanta shooting, which killed 1 and injured 4, is in custody. The evolution of shootings in this country is beyond disturbing. There are too many to keep track of and it is exhausting and mind numbing to continue learning about them without any action being taken in response. Every time one of these tragedies happens, we should respond with an absolute outcry and a demand for change. Only when we overwhelm with our voice, will change begin to happen.

2 thoughts on “4 May 2023 NPR’s Morning Edition: Jake’s Takes on the Tragic Condition of our Daily News

Leave a Reply