Let’s address the red, white and blue elephant in my digital room, shall we?
I’ve made it a point not to write about politics on this blog, for various reasons. Blogs can certainly be a podium for one’s opinions on just about anything, and I applaud those who use their digital space to make their (thoughtful) voices heard, no matter what side of the fence they’re on. But apart from re-blogging an article some time ago that rang true for me, I’ve decided not to use this space in that way.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have definite opinions or strong emotions concerning the current state of politics. I’ve spent my fair share of time watching, reading, and discussing current events from various sources (NOT the internet), with various people, and in various states of rationality. But one thing I will not do is rant on social media, no matter how angry, fearful, or frustrated I become. For one thing, I don’t think it will do one iota of good; for another, it would waste a lot of energy I’d rather be spending on creative pursuits.
What I have been doing is reading with interest how my writing and blogging peers have been dealing with their volatile emotions since the election, and for the most part, they’re pursuing constructive, empowering actions rather than ranting or crying in their beer (which, let’s face it, sounds tempting).
One writer listed dozens of untrustworthy websites that possibly reported “fake news”; another writer is re-evaluating her entire writing life and learning all she can about the government, the political process, and the law, after a lifetime of basically being “asleep” to politics (guilty here, too). Others are using their writing to affect change and spread awareness, in whatever way they can.
All of these are useful ways to channel the concern and passion we all feel toward people and events that seem so beyond our control. And I suppose that’s what I’m getting at: we can’t control everything that goes on “out there”. What we can control is how we conduct ourselves and our reactions to stressful events. I know people who are so upset and on fire about what’s happening in Washington, I’m afraid they’re going to develop an ulcer. Ulcers, people.
So what have I been doing differently in response to all this? Well, nothing really. Nothing different, anyway. I’ve never been an activist. I would have loved to attend the Women’s March on Washington, or even the smaller gathering of over 1,000 people here in my hometown on the same day, but alas, I needed money and was at work. I get up in the morning and get my daughter ready for school. I wrote two short stories in the past month that have nothing to do with politics. I’m planning my daughter’s 8th birthday party. I do the laundry, help my husband cut vegetables for dinner, wash the dishes. I don’t feel that I’m ignoring anything or hiding my head in the sand (though again, that sounds tempting); rather, I’m focusing on the things I can control, things I never want to take for granted and would fight to protect. In other words, I’m getting on with it.
Please note, I said I’m “getting on with it”, not “getting over it”. I don’t think, for me, there’s any getting over what happened in November. What I’m suggesting is, please don’t make yourself sick. Don’t let outrage take over your life. Focus on the things that have personal meaning, and work productively on the things that can be changed.
I’ve been reading in my town’s newspaper that the League of Women Voters is becoming more active in my area in response to the upheaval that’s taking place. Dare I say I’m tempted to join? It would be wildly out of character for me, and yet, these are wildly out of character times. One of the more positive things I see coming out of this whole thing is that people are paying more attention, becoming more involved in their communities, and banding together to protect the things they hold dear.
And that, my friends, is a good thing.