A week ago, I jokingly posted this photo of Steve and me as we traveled to Winnipeg for a yet-to-be disclosed reason. I joked that, since Trump appears to be the presumptive Republican party presidential nominee, we were avoiding the mad rush to Canada.
But, have you noticed, I’ve stopped posting much about politics these days? I’ve all but stopped using Facebook. The political posts and Facebook political advertisements have reached a shrill level no longer in keeping with my heart’s serenity. Time to opt out.
I find it interesting that I now even find posts by friends I agree with about issues that really matter to me to also be just too much. It’s all so contentious, so urgent, so hyperbolic, so outrageous, so predictable as to be more than wearisome. Enough already. I need to breathe fresh perspective.
The Light Goes On
I watched a recent podcast with David Axelrod and Jon Stewart in which Jon said something that had the deep ring of truth to it: the media is all designed to heighten urgency and anxiety so you won’t turn away. Don’t get lost in it. It’s not real life.
I need to stress this for some of my friends, both extremely liberal and extremely conservative. Media, “news media,” electioneering, has become a marketing drama, theatrics designed to heighten urgency and anxiety. And the media are doing a good job of it. The whole country is an anxious wreck. This marketing drama is actually about the only thing they are doing a good job of these days. They can not afford to have you turn away. Ratings, money, is on the line (their jobs).
Based on some of the things Jon said, I suspect that he himself was getting lost in it1. He was beginning to think that the marketing theatrics designed to retain eyeballs was real life. He resigned. He walked away. He had a profoundly influential bully pulpit, and he walked away from it. He saw his way through. He said, “Just because a person is not on TV doesn’t mean they’re not still alive.” when Axelrod kept prodding him for what his next big thing would be.
I say to some of my dear friends, even to myself, it isn’t real. See through it. Rather than getting swallowed up in the urgency and the anxiety, the drama and the theatrics of the completely predictable and ultimately futile absurdity, ground yourself in concrete activism to promote what you believe to be right and just and fair and good. Stop all of the fretting and all of the arguing that accomplishes nothing. Stop with all of the damned Facebook rants already. Breathe. Live life, real life. Don’t let the theatrics, the hyperbole become a substitute for your living life authentically.
Find and celebrate the goodness in yourself and in others. Be more like my dear friend Ruthy who passionately embraces people and freely shares her love. Therein lies serenity.
I don’t see how you couldn’t in that job. ↩