I spend too much time reading the internet. Reading about things that don't directly impact me, or things that do, but they all have something in common - I can't do anything about any of it. Well, not much, at least. I'll meet with a group of women later today to bask in political conversation, in a place where we can yell and bitch and gnash our teeth and complain and cry and be aghast and angry and motivated, where it won't be a huge social faux paus to say things like "Who gives a shit how the soup is, our President is a Russian puppet!" We'll talk about how scared we are and how small we feel, how helpless and impotent. We'll talk about the things that scare us the most, the issues we feel need the most immediate attention - and then one of us will remind the rest that we ARE NOT ALONE. That I may be one person, but when I join my voice with theirs, we become a chorus, and there are choirs practicing this particular song all over our country today, right now. And we will feel less alone, and a little less afraid, a bit less weak, a smidge stronger. And we will start to write. We will each write a letter or a postcard to our representatives on each topic each woman identified as the one most important to her, and we will mail our choir song to the people whose job it is to listen to us sing...
And that makes me feel a little bit better. It doesn't feel like enough, and it isn't, not by a long shot, but it is what I can do today, while I also do the other stuff, the real stuff, the stuff I should be concerned with, the stuff I was concerned with before the political took over my brain...you know, the real stuff. Like loving my husband, loving my children. Raising them to be good people, teaching them to give a fuck about other people. Because that's what we do as parents, right? We try to teach our kids to be good people, to be compassionate. Be super smart and funny and awesome in every other way too, but from the get go, at the start, be a good person. That one thing is the most important.
I don't know how to balance. I don't know how to stay woke and not be deeply depressed and sad and angry. I don't know how to reconcile my love for my Trump-voting fellow humans at the same time I am vehemently hoping for the worst of his policies to have the worst impacts on his voters just as a big fat "WTF WERE YOU THINKING I TOLD YOU SO!" I am angry at the people who voted for him. I am angry at them for putting our country, our safety, our very freedom at risk. I am so angry - and not just on my own behalf. I am terrified for my children, and I am pissed at his voters for stealing a bright future from them. See? I can't balance. I'm all doom and gloom - as I see it, unless he's forced out of office quickly, and our Congress mostly replaced in 2018, we're fucked. Who needs clean air and water, anyhow? Who needs our rich history of welcoming immigrants with open arms? Who needs a respected leader believed to be ethical and moral? Who needs separation of church and state? Who needs educated citizenry?
I cannot compartmentalize, this shit leaches into my thoughts during every conversation. I could easily turn every exchange into a lecture about current events. I am not fun at parties anymore.
Every day I tell myself, "I'm just not going to go down the rabbit hole today, I'm not going to Twitter or Facebook or Reddit..." but I do, and I am like a fucking junkie, getting hits/new tweets/statuses every time I pull that page down to refresh, getting more enraged and outraged and indignant and shocked with each new blow dealt by digging journalists or overreaching strategic advisors...
My dad told me a few days after the election, "The United States has survived the Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression...it has survived bigger things than Donald Trump." Sometimes, for a few moments, I'm able to step out of the noise in my head and look at it from thirty thousand feet, and I can see that he's right, and it makes me feel better. Sometimes I tell myself that I am a married white woman with a comfortable income living in a comfortable middle-class home, with plenty of food, access to affordable healthcare, with reliable transportation and two happy healthy little girls to raise - stay the fuck out of politics. Why do I care? Why can't I just bury my head in the sand like so many of my friends and not read the shit, not pay attention, pretend it isn't there? It's not like I am actively working to change anything - I haven't been to any rallies or protests or community events. I'm just reading shit on the internet and getting pissed off, occasionally releasing a little tension with a bitter tweet or facebook share. WHY?
When I'm driving alone, usually I'm trying to find the answers to all of these big issues we're facing - how do you convince people that insuring everyone is the only answer to our healthcare problems? How do we get people to stop being afraid of each other and realize we're all the same? How do we convert coal- and oil-industry workers into entrepreneurs in the renewable energy fields? I'm asking myself how I can be part of the solution. Sometimes the answer feels like the big obvious one - run for office if you want to make the laws. That feels way too scary and hard and like something that couldn't possibly be something I could be successful at, though, so I keep digging and thinking and trying to come up with something, anything. And then I remember that I can't even get a handle on my laundry situation, so I'm really wasting energy focusing on the wrong shit here.
I got up at 4:30 this morning, on a Sunday, so I could sit alone in the dark with my cup of hot tea (can't grind coffee beans at 4:30 if you want everyone else to stay asleep) and read Twitter and WP and Reuters and NYT in the quiet stillness, without interruption. I was going to sit here and bathe in the bad news, just splash all around in it. I'm glad I came here instead. I think this is probably better for my mental health.
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Please don't make me cry.