By Dr. Jim Ferguson

“The first reaction to truth is hatred.”

Tertullian (c 200 AD)


Why do humans seem to preferentially dwell on what they lack rather than what they have? Recently, I’ve been thinking about positivity and the contrasting negativity, notably seen in the media and politics. Maybe I’m just isolated in Knoxville, a conservative oasis within a flyover “red” state. But, the dystopian speeches of Obama and others at the Democrat convention are not an America I see, even one in the midst of a pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

Life goes on amidst the flames of hatred and chaos promoted by the media and Democrats to elect Joe Biden and his surrogate Kamala Harris. Identity politics does not resonate with me or reasoned people. Harris’ presidential campaign was a bust alleging avuncular Joe was a racist. Democrats rejected leftist Kamala who also “believed the women’’ accusers of Biden and Kavanaugh. So, why did the Democrat party put her on the ticket? It wasn’t ole Joe who made the choice. The radical AOC/Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrats and Joe’s handlers made the selection. They wanted a socialist and leftist surrogate for Biden. Someone Americans would never elect.

Dealing with Covid-19 has come to the Ferguson family. No one is sick, but my granddaughter was deemed “exposed” to a kindergarten classmate. Her exposure was defined as being within six feet of someone for ten minutes who tested positive for Covid-19. I asked if my grandson would be similarly quarantined for two weeks. The experts said that quarantine is not required for “exposure to a possible exposure.” With this logic I guess I’ll be safe at Kroger wearing my mask and socially distancing in the produce section. Folks, COVID-19 is here to stay, but Americans are resourceful and we will adapt.

I am blessed to be married to an optimist. The lovely Becky sees a glass as half full, whereas I sometimes see one as half empty. She influences me mightily. Honestly, would you rather be around a positive person or someone who is negative and miserable? We all have “gifts differing” as Paul observed and I have my gifts. However, I have jokingly asked many, who would they rather answer the phone? They always smile knowingly and say, “Becky.”

Trump’s positivity is criticized as are his accomplishments. Truth is elusive but, I choose a positive leadership message of encouragement rather than a negative epistle born of hatred. A cartoon meme was sent to me recently which aptly demonstrated the difference between Trumpism and the Democrats. The cartoon depicted a simplified ballot showing two choices with the caption “Jobs or Mobs.”

I haven’t heard the Republican speeches, since their convention will be the week of August 24, 2020. But the negativity of the Democrat’s convention is in striking contrast to Trump’s comments, speeches and rallies. Perhaps I’d prefer Trump’s Tweets to be more genteel, but if my wife and life were impugned like Trump’s, I can imagine myself speaking/tweeting indelicately.

Putting aside political lying, sniping and “provoteuring,” I choose to focus on Trump’s accomplishments and positivity. Trump has made America Great Again. He has put America first and renounced globalism, preferred by Obama, the Washington swamp, leftists, the media, the UN and the rest of the world. Members of NATO have been forced to meet their obligations and contribute to their protection. And Joe Biden’s friend, China, realizes there’s a new sheriff in town.

America is in the process of exiting foreign wars under Trump. A notable example is Afghanistan, a country only conquered and pacified by Alexander the Great (c 325 BC). Obama’s zoning attack on suburbia has been revoked by Trump. Even the inefficient and notoriously poor business model and service of the postal system has been challenged. Pelosi is recalling Congress from their summer recess to save post office boxes. Apparently, post office boxes have a higher priority than economic relief for Americans.

I was struck that there was no mention of riots, looting and burning in blue cities by the leaders of the Democrat party. After all, it is crime and failing schools which drive people to suburbia and will prevent big cities from recovering anytime soon, if ever. The so-called soccer moms of suburbia should be pleased that Trump recently repealed Obama’s zoning attack on suburbia which mandated “affordable housing” next to developments. Women who object to the president’s rhetoric should consider their neighborhood. I wonder if the Obamas would be concerned about an affordable housing development next to their $11 million estate on Martha’s Vineyard?

It is well known that a positive attitude is more conducive to good health than is negativism. Though the objective measurements are sometimes difficult to separate from other confounding issues, there are data showing a positive attitude is associated with the following:

“Increased life span,

Lower rates of depression,

Lower levels of distress,

Greater resistance to the common cold,

Better psychological and physical well-being,

Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease,

Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress”

(Mayo Clinic)

There is an aphorism that goes, “laughter is good medicine.” Have you ever wondered why the main performance is preceded by a “warm-up” act? It so happens that laughter is infectious. The same phenomenon is observed with music, where warm-up comedians and bands are used to prime the audience, so to speak.

A new study from researchers at the University of South Australia caught my eye. They found that the very act of “smiling can trick your mind into being more positive.” The principal researcher found that when you “forcefully practice smiling, it stimulates the amygdala—the emotional center of the brain—which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state.”

I’ve noticed that the panels and commentators on CNN and MSNBC rarely smile; they are usually frowning and project drama and seriousness. All I see and hear are unhappy and dysfunctional people. Whether they’re trashing Trump or not – which invariably they are – it makes me avoid them.


So, are you ready to take the cure? Turn off the tube, open the good book of hope where “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22) and try to smile, even if “your heart is aching.”