June 4, 2018
Turning Off Politics, Turning On My Sanity
One nice benefit of being in Europe for almost two weeks was the ability to not pay attention to the scandals, breathless updates, and the heated rhetoric of our politics. Yes, I occasionally had wireless Internet in some places, but with no daily newspaper and no desire to ruin what was a marvelous trip, I stayed away from most of what passes as news today. I was vaguely aware of what was happening back home, but chose to ignore it. After all, I was looking at towns and villages hundreds, maybe even thousands of years old that had withstood much worse.
Of course, arriving home, the morning paper and the daily flood of inflammatory headlines took their toll. It didn't take long to try to suck me back into the alternate reality of Washington. My brief dose of cleansing was over.
Or was it?
I really felt a peace during that break from what passes as news today. I don't like to live with my head in the sand. I think part of the responsibility I have as a citizen is to know enough of what's going on to have an opinion and voice it when appropriate, vote when possible, and even protest if that is best. But, to wallow in it, be surrounded by it, and buffeted by the almost endless expressions of anger or distrust, is exhausting.
My thinking about how closely I want all of this to touch my daily life is undergoing an adjustment. I realize that swimming in that pool all the time means I can't avoid constantly being wet. Allowing political news and the daily flood of what is happening to be always in front of me is not serving a constructive purpose.
A good analogy may be how I watch baseball games. There are times I turn off the TV before the end. I know whether I pay attention or the not the final score will be what it is. My attention to the very last pitch won't change the ultimate outcome.
With our present state of affairs my awareness of every ebb and flow won't change what is eventually going to happen. Probes, investigations, judicial proceedings, lawsuits, whatever will be will be whether I am paying full attention or not.
The European pace of life, living on a ship cruising down a river, is not my normal life. I know that. But, can I bring some of the feeling of separation and calm home with me?
I'll find out.