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Tweet this: The sky is falling
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Dennis Wyatt

If Chicken Little was real and alive today he'd be dead from a massive coronary within 15 minutes of surfing the Internet as cable TV news programs blare in the background.

With the steady diet of the sky is falling down - name your poison: Russians manipulating the election, daily purges in our cities, the collapse of the economy, climate change turning the average daily temperature to Fahrenheit 451, exploding smartphones, non-politicians and non-career bureaucrats being appointed to government posts, and other end-of-the-word scenarios - it's amazing that people aren't guzzling Kool-Aid by the gallon.

More than a few people are acting as if civilization is coming to an end and that life isn't worth living.

Here's the solution in three words - get a life.

Treat your insatiable desire to be plugged into the Internet whether it is social media, texting, blogging, livestreaming or consuming anything that pops up onto your screens for what it is - an addiction.

Take the outrage du jour - fake news.

Remember in the good old days when human grocery store checkers unloaded your cart, rung up your purchases, and a bag boy (yes, it was actually acceptable once upon a time to use gender-based pronouns) bagged them in paper sacks without you having to pay a dime for the privilege? Many of us would snicker as we stood in line while reading the headlines of rock solid publications such as "World News" and "The National Enquirer" about how a Decatur housewife gave birth to triplets fathered by a space alien that had 17 sets of ears or how some or rock star that's 22 years old revealed that he's going to become a monk.

No one - well, almost no one - thought it was for real. People bought the supermarket tabloids for the same reason some people bought Mad magazine. It was entertainment.

Now any combination of words that come into our life by paying a wireless carrier or an Internet provider a kings' ransom once a month is taken as the gospel.

Some may contend we are gullible, stupid, closed-minded or paranoid. Let's try the real reason - we're lazy.

All of the four previous excuses - gullibility, stupidity, closed mindedness, and being paranoid - are the byproduct of being lazy.

We want shortcuts for everything today given we have the attention span of a humming bird and the patience of a nine-year-old on Christmas morning.

Communications with fellow humans must be reduced down to 140 characters or we won't pay attention. We decide we want our 67th pair of shoes at 2 a.m. and we want them on our doorstep by 5 p.m.

Researching issues or even reflecting on the content of what we read is passé in a world where we value the quick buck and instant gratification over long-term returns and delayed gratification.

Life can become pretty hollow and empty when we act like all we live for is the next instant high.

Discipline - the quaint concept of working to control one's feelings and to overcome one's weaknesses when confronted with a challenge - left the public square a long time ago.

There is no longer any inkling of self-control or self-restrain when it comes to public debate. One must keep making your point over and over again making it shriller with each subsequent utterance.

Is it little wonder, as some claim, that we have a president-elect that at times strikes people as being a bit uncouth? We should all look in the mirror - supporters, foes, and those caught in the middle.

We are reaping what we sowed. Belittle people long enough, dismiss those who think differently often enough, and play to fears whenever you can't persuade others and you will one day find the tables turned.

With each passing day the 1960's are looking more and more like a time of congeniality. One can only imagine how bad things could have gotten back then if we all had been wired via the Internet and fed a 24/7 diet of cable TV shows that served heavy doses of political sniping.

The worst part is it seems a large number of people don't want to exit the merry go-round. They'd rather keep spinning in the spin they create than trying to find common ground.

This isn't something that started Nov. 8, 2016, Nov. 4, 2008, Nov. 2, 2004, Nov. 3, 1998, or Nov. 8, 1994.

It's been going on for years.

Civilization - nor is this country - built on absolutes.

As for manmade Arrmaggedeons, since the 1960's our springs were supposed to go silent a half dozen times, gas prices surge above the $5 a gallon mark at least eight times, and the world run out of food four or five times.
The reason none of that has happened is while the Chicken Littles were clucking their heads off others were working together to find common ground and workable solutions.

Now - thanks to the instant amplification provided by social media and around the clock cable TV news - the din has become so loud that a growing number of us seem to be losing the ability to hear and reason.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.