Thursday, February 14, 2013

COMMENTARY>>Editorial cartoons of life

By Col. Todd Pavich
314th Airlift Wing vice commander

Twenty Five years ago I was a political science student at school. I didn’t own a computer or a cell phone, the internet was not “invented” yet, and CNN was still in its infancy. For me the news came in a paper at the corner convenience store, and I generally only read the Sunday version to keep up on current events for school. After scanning through the headlines, checking the sports page, and reading the comics, I always ended with the editorials. I was specifically interested in the editorial cartoons. I collected them for many significant events, cut them out, and taped them to a wall. Throughout school I amassed quite a collection of editorial cartoons all for significant news stories of the day. Despite relatively limited access to news by today’s standards, my wall addressed very similar issues and events to today’s stories. Party politics, taxes, national debt, terrorist bombings, military response, nuclear tests, ethnic civil wars, environmental concerns, energy costs, crime, etc. were all captured on my wall in cartoon form. Most were funny, but others were quite serious. Anecdotally, the one I remember the most is of the space shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986 with the caption “Do not go friendly into that good night.”

Today, the news is everywhere. Information is everywhere and in multiple formats. I receive emails daily with headlines from multiple sources. I review an internet news aggregator every day and see what stories are popular or trending by readership. There is 24 hour news on several television channels, and a local newspaper still finds its way to my driveway. But with all these sources and with instant access to sites around the world, I wonder have the issues really changed. I watched the State of the Union Address Tuesday night and heard the President talk about party politics, taxes, debt, defense, renewable energy, environmental concerns, education, and gun control to name a few.

News affects everyone differently. Some worry, some plan, some don’t care, and some draw cartoons. There is a lot of negative and unsettling news out there today. Some may affect the military as a whole, and some may affect us as individuals. Events will occur and change will happen, but it’s not the event that defines life, it’s how we respond to the event. “Life is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how we react” is a common inspirational quote I’ve seen several times. I’d like to think my focus is always on the 90 percent, but I know it’s not. Still, I choose not to worry too much about the news of events I have no control over. For me it is energy wasted. I much prefer to capture the event in a cartoon like drawing. If I’m affected, I’ve got a piece of memorabilia that may or may not bring a smile as I continue to pursue life. Maybe I’ll start a new wall of drawings.

“Your life is not a coincidence. It’s a reflection of you!”

— unknown author

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