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Opinion: Everything is going to be fine

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On a chilly October day in fall 2010, the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was host to 215,000 enthusiastic Americans for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.” In a speech given that day by Stewart titled “A Moment of Sincerity,” he described our media as “the country’s 24-hour politico-pundit perpetual panic ‘conflict-inator.’” Allocating all alliteration aside, Stewart went on in his speech to discuss how the majority of Americans don’t live their lives in the guise of the news cycles thrown in our faces. For the most part we enjoy our days here on this earth despite the media’s best efforts to drive us into therapy. But it isn’t the goal of this rally that has stuck with me over the past two years; it is a picture of a sign, and a friend.

“Everything’s pretty OK I guess,” read the whiteboard held up tall over the crowd by a not so tall Ohio University student named Bob Fekete that afternoon. Everything’s pretty OK I guess. This simple sentence is one that anyone should be able to find solace in when things seem bleak. And if you’re a person that pays even the slightest attention to the news or social media, bleakness often surrounds us with so many dark headlines that one could convince themselves that perhaps the Mayans weren’t too far off.

One quick trip around the internet media horn quickly provides us with these panic inducing headlines. “‘FISCAL CLIFF TALKS FREEZE,” screams the Drudge Report. “Man Charged With Murder After Death on Tracks” is our daily gut punch from Fox News. MSNBC sarcastically sneers in our direction with this wallet depressor: “Planning on a tax refund next year? Good luck.” Thanks MSNBC, as if we haven’t cried into our pillows enough this winter with the divorce of Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, a reminder of less money coming our way should add to the tear stain we sleep on.

Though as Christmas and Hanukkah begin to rear their joyous heads, perhaps it is appropriate to prove that yes, everything is pretty OK I guess. While negativity brings in ratings, there is more positivity and charity happening in our country and on this planet than Kathie Lee and Hoda would be able to fit into one week of their half-drunken and bubbly edition of The Today Show on NBC.

Outside of eggnog and a warm fire, there is perhaps no better way to truly restore sanity than positivity, and while it may take some digging past your typical dreary headline there is plenty of it to be found.

One rare moment of positivity that did grab some national headlines was New York City police officer Larry DePrimo’s charity towards a homeless man in Times Square. On a cold winter night, DePrimo noticed the man did not have any boots or socks on. The officer went into a nearby shoe store and fixed this. “When I brought out the shoes, it was just a smile from ear to ear,” said DePrimo. “It was a great moment for both of us.”

In a small area of West Africa lies the Republic of Sierra Leone. Electricity in this country comes on once a week, if you’re lucky. Yet out of technological deficiency comes perhaps the next technological prodigy in Kevin Doe. A teenager completely self-taught, he has been invited to MIT due to his natural ability to turn trash, scrap metal and spare parts into batteries, transmitters and even his own home made radio station. Kevin hopes to use his new notoriety to promote innovation in Sierra Leone.

Remember the $4 billion Disney dished out to George Lucas to buy Lucasfilm? One hundred percent of that $4 billion will be donated to an education foundation by Lucas himself through The Giving Pledge. “We have to plan for our collective future,” said Lucas. “And the first step begins with social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide for our children.”

These are just three of the countless positive acts and developments that happen in our world every day. So as your exams come to an end and the holidays fast approach, remember one thing…

Everything’s pretty OK I guess.

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