Saturday, May 19, 2018

Broccoli People

I know too much
Yet I know nothing at all
We can stand on higher ground
Watching all them crawl
Lead me to the garden
Need another sin
I know too much
Can I please be plugged back in? 

~~ "Plugged In" by *repeat repeat

I read a really good article on Slate today called "How to survive Trump's Presidency without losing your mind."

You can imagine how that title caught my eye. I've been wondering how to do that! 

The article was written from the point of view of a journalist; by necessity, journalists must stay plugged in and pay attention to what is happening in the news. They don't have the luxury of disengaging and hiding from things. (I would argue that none of us have that luxury.) It says that the constant onslaught of news is almost mind-numbing and that it makes a lot of people just want to switch it all off and go about their normal lives. 

Where the article really hits the nail on the head is that while we have to carry on with our lives and do the things we need to do, whether it's going to work, shopping for groceries (like broccoli), or you know...bathing (that wasn't in the article—that's my addition), it doesn't mean that we can or should disengage from what is happening. There is nothing about what is happening in our country that is normal. 

This administration is harming many of our citizens (pretty much anyone who isn't a rich white Christian dude), is damaging our reputation around the world, and is chipping away at our law enforcement institutions. If you aren't able to see the long-term damage that will do, I honestly don't know what to tell you. 

We disengage at our own peril, our fellow citizens' peril, and even at our country's peril. The news can be overwhelming at times and it's important to recognize when we need to step away for a breather. Now that nice weather is here, I find that sitting outside for a couple of hours and enjoying the peace and quiet of our backyard is very renewing. Some might find relief in working out, getting lost in a good book, or listening to music. Whatever works for you! Know when you need to unplug for a bit. 

But don't do it permanently. Stay engaged, stay informed, stay involved, and stay pissed off! This isn't normal, this isn't right, this isn't okay. When people say things to you that are false, push back. You don't have to get into an argument with everyone every single day but that doesn't mean you have to put up with nonsense. I've never had a tolerance for bullshit so it's easy for me to push back. I've also been known to be more than a little outspoken. Find a level that works for you, but don't just completely disengage, because this shit is important. 

We also need to help and encourage others. Shortly after the election, we met up with Shane and Matt at a little party Mayor Pete Buttigieg gave for his supporters. I remember telling Shane and Matt that I feel like we have to stick together. We have to prop people up when they're feeling down about things and we have to encourage them. I had a chance to ask Mayor Pete what his advice was on how to deal with this and he said to stay involved. If we want to change things, we have to work, and we have to stay engaged with what is going on. Good advice!

I've lost friends because I'm so vocal about politics. I've seen sentiments like "Facebook isn't for politics." (Now THAT is funny!) I'm sure I piss people off. You know what? I don't give a fuck. I'm ready to make a fucking omelet and I'm prepared to break some fucking eggs. (Incidentally, a couple of my coping skills are drinking and cussing a lot.)

The point is that if you care about what is happening—and I know many people who do—you can't just disengage and let all this pass you by. We are living history right here, right now. In 30 years, if someone asks you what you thought about what is happening now, are you really going to say, "Oh, I didn't pay attention to all of that." I mean, come on. That's just lame. 

You don't have to stay pissed off 24 hours a day. I don't know anyone who can maintain that and live a happy life. I have my moments of complete and utter outrage, but I also have my moments of peace and tranquility, and I still love to laugh a lot. I still love music and books and movies and certain TV shows and I still love it when our cat climbs on me in the wee hours and purrs and licks my forehead. There is still much joy in this world and we have to embrace it. 

But don't lose your anger about the wrongs that you see. Call it out. Stay vocal about it and push back when you hear something that you know is wrong (even if you get an "I don't believe you" in least you stood up for the truth). Most importantly, take your anger to the voting booth this fall! 

Remember the wise words of John Lydon: "Anger is an energy."