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The next outrage...
I needed a break and so the relative silence between posts...
For the past 4 years, many and yes, too many, of my daily thoughts were connected to something that profoundly worried and/or outraged me. My habit has been to start my day looking at all that happened @ “home base” in time zones and miles away. From Twitter to the NYT, WSJ, WAPO and beyond…news about “the former guy”, reading the tweets and deeds started the adrenaline flow, accelerated my heartbeat and sometimes put the taste of metal in my mouth. The Industry of Outrage had another customer and I was eager to sign up for more servings. With my daily portion came an energy rush that made me feel empowered, all served up with a satisfying dash of self righteousness. I knew that there was an accompanying danger, side effects, that came with these feelings…that I was maybe becoming a version of what “the other side” so disdained and held in contempt and that at least a little bit of me agreed with… but hey so what…They were wrong and I was right.
And then the noise stopped and I was awash with questions. I had allowed so much of my precious time and emotional energy to be consumed, sometimes manipulated and always monetized by media platforms that were algorithmically feeding me more fuel for my outrage…Why did I allow it? I’m not confused about the fact that I had no power to stop the events and silence the ensuing noise that accompanied them, but I did have a choice about how much of it I consumed as well as how I reacted to all of it. I do cut myself some slack because in the end I believe we really were dealing with “a clear and present danger” that came to head for all to see on Jan. 6 and so paying attention and being outraged felt like the right thing to do.
But now, thankfully, gratefully, that’s part of the past and I’m going to dial down my intake from the Industry of Outrage and spend more time looking at ways to help make things better for more people other than myself. The reaction of so many prominent people on the Blue Side working to help the millions of people in distress in Texas is a great example…instead of just pointing fingers of blame, lifting hands to help…how refreshing.
My half-full nature leads me to believing that we can and will do so much more to really help make life better for more people. I just started reading Bill Gates’ new book “How to Avoid Climate Disaster” and it’ s chilling, extremely well researched and thought through and in the end hopeful…IF we all collectively make it our mission to avoid this oncoming catastrophe. As you might imagine, Gates has very clear and concrete ideas about how. I’m hoping to spend more time and focus on how we move forward on that initiative and look for ways that we can begin to counteract so much cruelty to the planet and each other with more compassion and kindness.
I have no illusion about the degree of difficulty that’s involved in decoupling from the outrage cycle…There are a clown car full of GOP Senators that each define their brand of loathsome in ways that make my skin crawl as they “feed the base” and “own the libs” with seemingly little other interest or agenda. More to the point, I know that trying to do anything that changes a well entrenched status quo, especially when it comes at a cost carries a heavy load, but history has shown us that big things happen with an accumulation of a lot of little steps. This will be where I’ll try to take a few of my own.