“Caught With Illegal Substances!”
“The Hideous Look On the Red Carpet.”
“The Worst President of All Time.”
“Living a Lie?”
Why is human nature so programmed to criticize? Why is it so much easier for us to find faults in things rather than praise them? Why do we dig and dig into someone’s life until we find the real dirt? Flipping through a magazine, most people will skip through the clean, positive articles and look for the ones with the most juice in them. Which celebrity is in jail now? What silly thing did the President say this time? Only news of Lindsay Lohan getting caught with drugs yet again will reach the headlines; do any of you know about the day Shakira dedicated to humanitarian efforts? I think it is safe to say that the majority of people will not. Why is this? Why do we find such pleasure in seeing the failures of others? It doesn’t end here. We prove to be extremely hypocritical when we lose the object of our criticism. All of a sudden, we realize what we had and what we lost. We honor the one we lost with countless memorials, we shed tears, and we tell our children about them. But all of that is pointless. What is the point of remembering the strengths of someone when he or she can no longer hear us? When it no longer matters, we open our hearts and sing songs of praise and love.
If you don’t believe me, take the legendary Michael Jackson. His death was a world tragedy; people in every country reeled at the loss and found creative ways to honor his life. Entire cities organized a synchronized dance to Thriller, and videos of his music videos aired on TV regularly for several weeks. If he is a star shining down on us today, he should feel proud of the imprint he left behind, right? Somehow, I don’t think he died a happy man. He changed the way the world thinks about dance and music. He began making music videos a norm. He brought all races together and fought against inequality. He was one of the biggest celebrity humanitarians and devoted so much of his life towards helping others, and yet, we only remember that now, after his death. Try remembering what he had to face when he was alive. Despite his own family problems, he faced constant attention from the media, which picked at his every action and turned it into some twisted, disgusting crime. At the time he died, he was taking an unhealthy amount of medicines, all to help him relieve his stress and resulting insomnia. As such a rich and famous man, he should have been living the life, stress-free and comfortable… But that was never the case. With criticism and accusations coming at him from all directions, he was never at peace, thus resorting to all the medicines, one of which is supposedly what killed him. He was taking the medicines because of us, the public. Therefore, there is only one conclusion. His death was an indirect murder. By the media. By us. Throughout his life, he was unhappy. When he died he was unhappy. He will always be unhappy; he will never know that he was important to anyone, and we can never change that.
The same thing happens with Presidents term after term. Great leaders like Ronald Reagan (who was thought to be a nuclear cowboy) and Franklin Roosevelt (he was often referred to as “that man”), who we remember with so much love and respect now, were not very popular during their presidencies. Even George Washington, the first President and the man who fought for the freedom of this country, almost retired in frustration after only the first term. Therefore, even the most revered figures in our history suffered what President Obama is suffering now–the wrath of a selfish public that does not care about the past, however recent, and is only concerned with what happens next. Most of the public does not realize that one of the President’s main jobs is to prevent things from happening, not make new things happen. For example, preventing a terrorist attack, preventing a financial meltdown, or preventing war–things that we never find out about unless they happen. Granted, moving the country forward is the President’s main responsibility, but it is often such a gradual process that we never even realize it’s happening. If all is going well and the economy is soaring, we assume everything is normal and the President had nothing to do with it; but as soon as the stock market plummets and we are in the middle of a recession, all fingers are pointed firmly at the White House. Is that really fair? Most of us never even know about all the things the President does for us, and carelessly bombard him with unnecessary pressure from the relentless media and our constant neediness. Then, as usual, we realize what we had after it is long gone. Being President is arguably one of the worst jobs in the world, what with the pressure of the entire country safety to worry about as well as anxiety over popularity, media, and reelection.
Why can’t we just learn how to appreciate the good in others, instead of jumping at the first chance to criticize scandal? As humans, we have an unfortunate habit of never realizing the treasures we’ve been blessed with until it’s too late. This needs to change. A simple adjustment in our attitudes could alter the number of celebrities resorting to drugs to deal with stress. It could even change life closer to home. Do any of you appreciate your father, who goes to work for nine or ten hours a day to put food on the table? Or your mother, who will go to the greatest lengths to make you feel like royalty? No, instead we criticize Mom for not packing the right kind of sandwich. Only after we go to college do we realize how many times we never had to do our own laundry, or how nice it was to get pampered in bed whenever we were sick. At one point or another, we will realize the value of everything we take for granted; let’s just change when that happens. Don’t let another person die feeling unloved. I know from experience that praise is the biggest motivation–let’s use this knowledge to show the people in our life how much we really care before it’s too late.
Man, we’re all just humans.
Oh, and by the way! It’s my business anyway, not yours, so hop out.