In it for the long haul…

/ 23 January 2017

I am worried about the ways in which people are hyper ventilating over every tidbit of information that comes out of the White House these past few days. Trump at the CIA, Trump’s press secretary, etc. etc. Consider the possibility that Trump may be using — if not strategically, just intuitively — our news media to focus attention in ways that take us away from our core commitments. What may well have been the largest mass demonstration in US history took place on Saturday, and rather than dealing with the substance of that demonstration the tv media, in particular, are all atwitter about Trump’s spokesperson arguing about the size of crowds. Please, friends, take a moment and pause. Focus on the energy and shared passion for moving forward that the marches evoked. Rather than reading the news all the time (or even, and I would highly recommend NOT doing this, watching the news), set aside a limited amount of time in your day for getting a sense of what is happening the world, and then focus your energy on what you can do. Aside from bad weather or other such emergencies, there is no real reason to get news immediately. Yet the seductive nature of “getting it first” is driving our news media into terrible practices. We need to turn away from that temptation and turn instead to longer, more thoughtful reflection. Attending to what matters is crucial, and this administration looks to be pulling our attention to all sorts of other things. We know Trump and his administration will lie. Hold to truth, focus on truth, and on what you can do. Instead of spending 30 minutes on “the news,” spend 10 reading journalists you trust, or at least respect, and spend the other 20 minutes emailing your legislators. Then, do what you can to feed your soul. Cherish relationships — and extend them to embrace new communities. Cherish beauty — and look for it in unexpected places. Cherish music — and make it with others. We need to be in this struggle for the long haul, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.