Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is there hope for the world?

Much of what we see and read--about violence, intolerance, the spectre of an environmental holocaust, the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots and so much more could lead us all to conclude that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket and if we're not facing global annihilation, well then, we're pretty damn close to it.

We can also look at our own industry and see horrors. We can bemoan the lack of jobs and the lack of job security. We can rue the decline in creative quality. We can go on about the general stupidity and cupidity of our business.

We can do all that and spend a lot of time doing so.

I suppose doing so is our right and our prerogative.

But, of course, there are other ways of looking at things. Here are two for instances.

60 years ago for all intents and purposes black people couldn't vote in our country. They couldn't live where they chose and go to school where they wanted to. In many precincts they couldn't check into a hotel, eat in a restaurant, go see a movie, or use a toilet.

Today, things are by no means perfect, and there are legions of people who would like to take us back, but things have--for all the problems that still remain--undeniably improved.

40 years ago we had lead in our gasoline and tons of PCBs were being dumped into our waters. The air isn't clean today and neither is the water. But it is better. Positive people have been a positive force for positive change.

Even in advertising, an industry beset by seismic changes, people are eager, people are working hard, people are trying new things.

Tonight I am in LA on business and I took a long cab ride to see my daughter who is in college out here--in an idyllic town about an hour east of LA. My cabdriver was a 24-year-old Moroccan who was working his way through college on his way to getting a degree in computer engineering. He studies all day and drives all night.

My daughter is similarly hard-working and ambitious. And she's willing to face down all sorts of obstacles on her way to becoming a marine biologist. Or a scuba teacher. Or something.

My two cents says that the world sucks in many horrific ways.

But as long as people like tonight's cabdriver and my daughter trying to do something good with your life, there's hope.

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