Carnes: The upside of pessimism |

Carnes: The upside of pessimism

They occur daily, these vestiges of silver linings, found lingering in the aftermath of negative comments from pundits, critics, and just about anyone in the general public with the proverbial ax to grind.

Take the Iraq war, for instance.

Year after year of senseless American deaths has pressured the majority of the American public to finally pay attention, take sides, argue and debate but unfortunately conform to judging others based solely upon political viewpoints.

The optimistic upside?

It’s better than sitting on our collective duffs after Sept. 11 doing little more than scouring Britney or Paris headlines. The war has forced us to realize the depth of religious zealots desire to kill us all, and to accept the uncivilized fact that mindsets based upon magical beings will never stop until they themselves are killed.

Perhaps I should go to Minturn and learn how to shoot.

Or look at the bridge collapse in Wisconsin.

While many spout about the newly-discovered dangers of water crossings, even those not running for office are making positive changes in bridge inspections nationwide, refusing to wait until arriving at the bridge before they cross it, if you catch my drift.

We’ll never know how many potential disasters are actually prevented, but you can be sure it’s more than the total number of hedge funds that have made money in the last month.

Speaking of monetary meltdowns, White House assurances of a sound economy reminds me of Kevin Bacon’s character at the end of “Animal House” shouting, “All is well, ALL IS WELL!”

Administration promises seem to have the same effect as the young actor’s screaming, but the upside could eventually be the long-awaited correction for astronomical home prices ” yes, even locally.

And thanks to the complete lack of quality control in Chinese products, tens of thousands of American parents are now having their children tested for higher than normal lead levels.

Besides the obvious upside in sales volume for American-made toys, just think how many children will be diagnosed with other, non lead-related, diseases or afflictions that otherwise might have not been discovered until it was too late.

Thousands of potential “Restless Leg Syndrome” cases can be cut off at the knees, so to speak.

As a side note, if snowfall were manufactured in China it would redefine the phrase “hard water.”

Anyway, these cynical positivisms even happen here in Happy Valley.

For example, the latest batch of whiners complaining about the rich (apparently anyone perceived to have more than them) couldn’t show their true colors more if they used green ink in their e-mails.

On the other hand, it alerts those who truly understand the value of a dollar as to whom not to hire for those pesky tasks we no longer wish to do ourselves (my first real job, other than neighborhood lawn mowing, was washing dishes for $2.25 per hour at the age of 15).

All of the negative talk about Arn and his waste-of-time recall will at the very least cause Sara and Peter to think twice before making certain decisions, such as the soon-to-be Gates Ranch debacle (see, I truly AM an optimist).

Current traffic complaints in Minturn, and the real fear of the situation being twice as bad in a few short years, just might help in swaying Union Pacific’s decision about allowing the tracks to be used for Ginn construction deliveries (let’s be sure not to bring up the fight they lost with Avon just a while back …).

Heavy complaints about the lack of local housing caused very positive changes in the West End project. Hooray.

More “stuff being stolen in Avon” (brilliantly vague headline) will cause residents to be more vigilant towards door locking.

Another $200K being spent on the water fountain in Seibert Circle will (hopefully) bring about a change in those windmill-loving council members.

And on and on and on, but the point being that all issues have at least two sides and an incalculable number of consequences, not all necessarily negative.

Also please observe that I could have called this “The downside of optimism,” but then most of you would not have bothered past the headline.

How’s that for optimism?

NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper…but they should be.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a biweekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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