Reading the newspaper or listening to the radio is getting harder these days, and a line from Don McLean’s “American Pie” keeps running through my head: “Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn’t take one more step …”

There’s bad news aplenty. Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s bond rating because congress, polarized and afflcted with enough inflexible extremists to gum up the works, can’t make good decisions about running the country. Global markets are sinking. Analysts fear a double-dip recession.

Meanwhile, millions of well-qualified workers can’t find jobs, and everyone struggles to pay higher prices for gas. We feel bad about that until we read about the many thousands who are starving in Somalia and Kenya due to a major drought, and because youngsters with guns stand in the way of relief efforts because they’ve been duped into thinking Allah wants it that way.

Scores of thousands of American troops remain in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq. Navy Seals on a releif mission are shot down, and more than two dozen Americans die, along with several Afghanis. In Syria, Bashar Assad’s authoritarian government continues to pound its own people, shelling residential neighborhoods and virtually destroying the city of Hama, where citizens had called for change.

Yes, there’s bad news on the doorstep — enough to make you want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over your head. And that’s on top of whatever difficulties or traumas people might be facing in their personal lives.

But …

But the world goes on. Summer’s hazy heat is cycling toward cooler weather. My tomatoes are dying, but the figs are getting ripe. School teachers and administrators are ramping up for another year while students get in their last full days of play.

Church services go on when Sunday rolls around, songwriters are still making music, friends keep their social networks going, love blooms, children play.

There’s bad news on the doorstep, but each of us has the ability to bring good news into the day. We can make our little part of the world a better place, and that’s more than enough reason to get up and get going, to take at least one more step …

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