If you look across the American media landscape in 2014, do you get the feeling that our country spins out of control?
Television advertisements show you how to speed up your computer, insert a dozen "aps" on your smart phone, watch two programs at once while you record two other shows, and how to lose 30 pounds in 30 days.
On the local evening news in every city in America with 50,000 or more residents, you discover immediately who shot whom, who crashed into the town mayor, who robbed a 7-11 and who suffered rape by a local football star or Catholic priest.
When you turn on the national news with NBC's Brian Williams, ABC's Diane Sawyer and CBS' Scott Pelley, you watch the latest hurricane rip up the East Coast or a tornado that flattened a city in Oklahoma. You discovered that 50,000 illegal immigrant children crashed our borders recently. You discovered they carry too many communicable diseases to count, but our leaders mixed them into our cities without blinking an eye as to how those diseases affected us. You discovered that MS-13 gang members gain(ed) entry into our country without question. Cartels continually transport billions of dollars of lethal drugs into our country with no end in sight. But the government people, Congress and Obama, do nothing to stop it.
We suffer a major epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, cancers, millions texting and drunk driving.
You watched for 11 years how 4,400 U.S. soldiers, our finest kids, died in a totally fabricated war by George Bush and continued by Obama. You witnessed for 12 years how we blew up Afghanistan, but now, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the Taliban continue their march to re-take those countries.
You watch Middle Americans suffer unemployment, food stamps for 48 million citizens, high teen pregnancy rates, 50 shootings in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend, high school kids who can't find jobs and the national debt screaming out of sight.
Yet, our Congress imports 100,000 legal immigrants into our country every 30 days. If the S744 amnesty bill passes, your congressional critters doubled the legal immigration from 1.1 million annually to 2.0 million annually—as if doubling our population might solve our problems when we grow from 300 million to 625 million.
I loathe the TV because of its dumbing down the American people. I mourn the loss of critical thinking and proactive decisions. TV sells us junk foods that cause 65 percent of our citizens to suffer overweight and obesity problems. I loathe the lies by major networks that force-feed us only what they choose.
I despise "downstream" reporting that describes the results of stupid choices rather than "upstream" reporting, which might improve the outcome. I dislike our leaders in Congress and the White House lying to us so much so, they lie without compunction and lie with turpitude.
All the while, our country accelerates over a sociological, cultural, economic, energy and demographic cliff. Watching it from the sidelines makes me sick to my stomach daily.
Therefore, during the news, I find myself watching "The Rifleman" episodes to slow me down, to give me clarity through black and white, right and wrong, good and bad and a balance of living.
Lucas McCain and his son Mark homesteaded, worked hard, faced dangers and abided in the goodness of fellow citizens. They lived in simpler times, slower times and closer to the Earth. Sure, the tall 6'5"Lucas McCain shot a few bad guys and, during those times, the Indians lost their continent, and yes, slavery persisted. Not condoning any of it.
But, as a kid who grew up part of my young life on a farm in Michigan, I miss the basic connection with life itself on an agrarian level. My brothers and I used to go fishing on our pond where we watched dragonflies flitting from flower to flower, turtles sunning on rocks sticking out of the water, garden snakes sleeping on logs, mayflies hatching and the slow pace Mother Nature set in the flow of life.
Today, Monsanto, ADM and Dow Chemical continue poisoning the Natural World with "Roundup" and "Weed-B-Gone" so we face extinction of our bees, dragonflies and butterflies. Those CEO's destroy the Natural World with Genetically Modified Organisms. All the while, no one gives a crap to speak out against any of it.
As a country, as a people and as a civilization, we may come to regret the speed, the rush and the pressure of modern living. We may regret fast foods that made us fast fat. We may rage at "Smart Phones" that cause us headaches, texting while driving that gets thousands of us killed and the sheer violence of our warring world.
We may regret that we disrupted and wrecked our planet home with our dominance of it via our mechanized violence against Nature via chemicals, carbon exhaust and poisoning our oceans.
While the history of humanity runs replete with tragedy throughout the centuries, I will be surprised if our species makes it through the 21st century intact.