I think as a society we focus on the small percentages. Let's take Muslims for instance; there are a small percentage of Americans afraid of Muslims. That same percentage of people target Muslims as a threat to this country. If you ask me, I'm afraid of anyone that is radicalized, Muslim, Catholic or a sports fan. But am I afraid of all Muslims? Absolutely not. However, to the small percentage who are afraid of all Muslims because their fear is that they are going to over-run the United States, allow me to dazzle you with some basic math. If you were concerned that the Muslim population was going to attack, I have some bad news. There are 1.7 billion of them and only 320 million of "us." We're outnumbered 500 to 1. If they wanted to they could beat us to death with Q-tips. But they don't, because we really should only be concerned with the small percentage of folks that have gone sideways.
In fact, we as a country only represent 4.5 percent of the world's population, yet somehow we spend lots of time policing other people's problems. Truth be told, if the world gets tired of us sticking our nose where it doesn't belong and wanted to make it stop ... let's just say those odds are closer to 2,500 to 1. But most of the world isn't worried about us, a small 4.5 percent of the world population. But that just proves my point. We focus on the small percentages.
When we look at things like homelessness, we judge them all again on the small percentage of people that might abuse the system (like 5 percent). I hardly think that's fair. Yet those that abuse the system are the ones that seem to set the precedent for all that might fall into that category.
There are people who genuinely have a deep-seated hatred of race and color. Again, when you break it down they are a small percentage of the population yet we allow them the power to create this feeling of fear that swirls all around us; we buy into it and continue to feed it. Then, they capture the headlines and consume our news feeds, thereby creating this new norm where everyone is afraid all the time.
We're even calling into question the people that are protecting us. Could you imagine working in an industry where one bad seed in California put you under the microscope here in Vermont? Think about that for a second. Talk about focusing on a small percentage of people. But we do, I don't know why, but we do. We are 99 percent of the population and we are allowing the 1 percent to drive us down this one-way street. And this has nothing do to with money here. I'm talking about our desire to seek out the bad in the world as opposed to seeking out the good. Just to test my theory I went to YouTube and typed in "Police brutality." The first video that popped up had been viewed over a half million times. Then I typed "police doing good." The first video was only viewed 8,600 times. We want to see the bad because good is boring. We accept that and accept it as the norm, the whole, how we now operate.
We seem to have taken that big step backwards towards a culture that puts a huge amount of importance on small percentages of people doing bad while developing a hyper focus on feeding it with the bad they do. I truly don't know how to get people to focus on the folks that are doing good, or just living their lives. After all, those are the people who can shift the paradigm. If the bigger percentage of good people are encouraged to do good, bad stands no chance!
It's pretty simple, and you've heard it all before — pay it forward. Someone holds a door for you, you should hold a door for someone else. You see a stranger in need, you help, then that stranger helps another. If we feed that culture, then we win. If we continue to feed the culture of hate and bad ... then we will lose! What the hell is up with that?
Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.