World ending? Here’s a different spin

As you may remember, the Long Count of the Mayan calendar is predicting the end of the world – or at least the world as we know it – for Dec. 21, the ushering in of our winter season.

Just wanted to remind you, in case you like to plan New Year’s festivities in advance so you may want to get a pre- New Year booking.

I don’t mean to make light of such a dire prophecy – an omen they’re taking pretty seriously in some parts of Russia, as reported in Sunday’s New York Times.

Reporter Ellen Barry tells us that the warden of a women’s jail near the Chinese border had to call for a member of the clergy to preach to the collectively psychotic inmates. And, in a town near Moscow, residents were engaged in panic buying in retail shops.

So much upset was stirred that the Russian government has advised the comrades to put a lid on what they insist is ill-founded concern. So far, I don’t recall having heard similar reassurances from Barack Obama or even the sober-minded members of the Tea Party.

Still, it wouldn’t surprise me much to learn that people from any part of our ever-shrinking globe might be loading up the family automobile and heading for some bucolic spot – if one can be found – before we are lost for all eternity.

When Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air put out a live radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds,” in the form of news bulletins detailing a presumed invasion from Mars in October 1938, many in the U.S. and Canada believed the worst and headed into the streets before learning the truth.

Today, we have plenty of real-life crises – including the “fiscal cliff” dilemma facing Americans of every stripe – to keep us occupied, not to mention the ever-present powder keg of the Middle East, with a disastrous war in Syria, tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, the nuclear adventure in Iran, Egypt’s constitutional confrontation and, of course, religious zealots continuing to self-implode in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then, too, there’s the fighting in Kenya, threats and violence from Mexican drug cartels and Europe’s Euro Zone countries entangled in the debt crisis.

And, right here in the Garden State, we have the post-Sandy recovery effort to deal with.

Bottom line is, don’t put all your eggs into one Mayan basket: We’ve got a surfeit of potential world-ending situations to choose from – all equally deserving of our attention.

And that’s the point: Yes, it’s certainly important to pay attention to these hot spots around the world. But, instead of putting ourselves in a depressing stew over the world’s warts, we should seek out constructive strategies to positively deal with them.

Write a letter to your congressperson, take part in a demonstration, make a donation to a worthy cause.

But don’t hide under the covers and hope for better times coming. Take positive action as a responsible citizen of the world!

– Ron Leir

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