Our impending doom - TMNews.com: ColumnsCommentaryOur impending doom
Posted: Friday, February 6, 2015 10:30 am | Updated: 10:47 am, Fri Feb 6, 2015.
Editor’s note: Trace Cummings, a 2011 Bedford North Lawrence High School graduate, rode his bicycle from Bedford to Texas last year. Initially, he planned to plant trees along the way, but reconsidered and has opted to plant trees in Bedford instead.
Sensationalist titles like the one above pepper the nightly news. And why shouldn’t they? Wars are cropping up all over the place, terrorist attacks and school shootings are becoming the norm, and the bad guys seem to be getting the upper hand. Everyone I talk to is afraid of the unknown. Most are wary about the fate of mankind, sure that we will continue to devolve until we meet our fiery end.
One can’t help but wonder if the end times described in the Bible are coming nearer. After all, the Bible does say that men will become lovers of the self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, ungrateful, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. It is for all of these reasons that I, too, was afraid before I left the comfort of my home to ride my bicycle to Texas last March. But what I discovered along the way changed everything.
To my surprise, almost everyone I met was kind to me and helped me in any way they could. I was hungry, and Hilda Jenkins gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and Ray gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and Ronnie invited me in; I ran out of clean clothes, and Pete let me do laundry in his home; I even got a ride to the nearest hotel, free of charge, from a leader of the Simon City Royals gang.
My point is this: the world is not always what it seems, and it is not all bad. Nay, I would even go so far as to say that it is mostly good! When I first postulated this, I began to search for evidence to validate my thesis. I discovered that since the year 2000, eight million more AIDS patients world wide have gotten the proper drugs they need, child mortality has gone down 2.65 million per year, extreme poverty has gone from 43 percent in 1990 to 21 percent by 2010, and on top of all of that, we are currently living in the least violent century ever seen by mankind, despite being able to kill each other more efficiently than ever. These tidbits may not prove my theory, but I believe they’re a good start.
Don’t get me wrong; we’ve still got a long way to go. We should constantly strive to do more and be better, and in my personal struggle, I have looked to MLK for inspiration. As he says in his I Have A Dream speech, “Now is the time” — Now is the time to stop focusing on mankind’s “downward spiral” and focus instead on the good and the beautiful and the true. Now is the time to develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. Now is the time to rise above our fear and love each other more fiercely than ever before. Now is the time to give strangers and the human race the benefit of the doubt. Now is the time to make the Promised Land a reality.
While I do not wish to compare myself to Dr. King, I, too, have a dream. I have a dream that one day our superficial differences such as race, sexual preference, gender, and religious belief will no longer be topics of discussion in the news. I have a dream that one day we will hold our heads high, and stand hand in hand — black, white, gay, straight, transgender, Christians, and Muslims alike — and revel in our similarities. I have a dream that one day war will be a thing of the past and the world will know conflict without violence.
It is up to us to convince our fellow man that there is hope for humanity, for in the end, whether we believe it or not, it will surely be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And if it turns out that the end of man is coming sooner rather than later, and the good people such as yourselves are to be overrun by the bad, I expect you won’t go down without a fight. Just remember: hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Trace Cummings invites you to help plant trees next month. The date and time will be announced.