Torn

I never write about politics. I’m not qualified to do so, and few things frustrate me more than talking heads (or in this case, writing fingers) prattling on about an issue without all the facts or context. But (and you knew that was coming, right?) I am so overwhelmed and depressed and disappointed and shocked by the political goings on these days. No matter how much I want to shove my fingers in my ears and hum loudly to myself, I can’t ignore what I read. And I can’t stop reading it, either.

It surprises me how ill-equipped I am to deal with all the hate in the world. When did I become so naive? I used to be able to debate with the best of them, confident that I could make you see my perspective if not change your mind. Goodness knows my mind wasn’t going to change, of course. I thought I was a bleeding heart liberal long before I really understood what that meant.

But I’ve mellowed. Not necessarily in belief, but absolutely in my need to share it with you. And what seems to have replaced the furvor folly of my youth is resignation, exhaustion and deep, deep sadness.

My friend Laura says, “Be Kind. No Exceptions.” It’s a simple mantra that has garnered a lot of attention lately. I’m just not convinced that the right people are getting the message. Every time I read the news it’s another example of hateful vitriol and inexcusable behavior coming from individuals in prominent leadership positions at all levels. There’s no such thing as “agree to disagree” anymore;  just “you’re wrong, and I hate you for it.”

It’s unbearable. And disrespectful. If our leaders can’t treat one another with common decency, how can we believe they have any respect for their constituents?

So I’m considering enforcing a personal moratorium on news updates until after the mid-term elections. I’ll do my research now so I can be an informed voter, but then I’ll stop reading. I’ll go straight to the dream real estate section of the New York Times. I’ll skip the political articles in The New Yorker. I’ll avoid Wait, Wait like the plague. I’ll remove all other news sources from my various feeds.

Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just keep reading and hoping someone up there gets the message. Soon.

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6 thoughts on “Torn

  1. I’ve mostly taken a break from the news for awhile. I’m having the hardest time understanding people and I just need some time away. That’s a privilege that I have that other people don’t, people who LIVE the news, who are in the midst of wars and famine and disasters, but I can’t cling to sanity much longer unless I take a break.

  2. I totally agree, and I’ve been avoiding the news for awhile. But then I feel bad…like the typical disenchanted, disengaged member of my generation. I just can’t help it. My mood is so easily altered….and I just want to be happy!

  3. I was all with you until you said you were giving up Wait, Wait…and then I was all “whoa. I will not let politics ruin my saturday mornings for the next eight weeks.” Those bastards aren’t taking away my weekend joy!

  4. Pingback: Health Care Reform Revisited « Red Pen Mama

  5. There was never such thing as “agree to disagree”, at least not for the things that really matter. You can agree to disagree about a recipe or a book or a movie, but not about hate and violence. At the end of the day, the people at the receiving end don’t have the option of politely putting things aside.

    That said, pretty much all mass media is utter trash. You keep reading and watching because of a fear/anxiety response (aka the “trainwreck phenomenon”). This, in turn, causes you to buy things or (inadvertently) view advertising at a time when you are most vulnerable. Stories are picked and spun to evoke the biggest emotional response. In a sense, your anxiety is commodified by the influence of advertisers on the news agency. Ain’t capitalism great?

    If you live in the US, a “media moratorium” is an excellent idea.

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