As much as I'd love to post a perky "Happy Thanksgiving" and get all mushy about the things I'm thankful for (and there are things), today feels substantially different to me.
We are about to plunge into a world where we are likely to be inundated daily with attacks on our democratic norms, those principles we hold most dear to us, and yes, even our physical well-being.
So before I share some ideas for how to cope with all of that going forward, let me say this one thing: I am grateful for each and every person who has donated to us, taken the time to read our articles, shared them with others, and been a part of our community. That is what gets me up in the morning and keeps me going through the day. I am sincerely in awe of all of you.
However...we are entering into some dark times. Very dark times. My beloved spouse and sane person in the house offered me some advice on how to stay focused, alert, aware and alive. It isn't advice on how to get along with your relatives around the dinner table today. Speaking strictly for me, I want to throw mashed potatoes in Trumpers' carefully-coifed hair, so I'm not going to give advice on how to get along. This is more about staying focused and sharp for the battles ahead.
His tips, as shared with me, may be just as pertinent to you.
- Find a way to take a vacation from it all. Even if it's one day, one week, or a month, give yourself some space to focus on something else.
- Limit your intake. Ration yourself to a specific amount of time to give attention to what's going on, then step away and consider getting outside or going out to dinner, or doing something that isn't thinking about what's happening in this country every single moment of every single day.
- Don't worry about things above your pay grade. The corollary to this is to know what you CAN do something about, and be prepared to do it. That can be as simple as resolving to stand up for someone being bullied in the street, calling Congress, recording a disturbing public event that's happening on your phone, or even sharing information with your network that is important to get out there. You (and I) aren't going to save the country on our own, but we damn sure have to keep doing our best to see that it isn't destroyed.
- Pace yourself. We're looking at four years of crazy. This is probably the area where I'm weakest, but it's so important. We are going to have a complete morass of things to process which have to be prioritized. War is bad. Handing the country to the Russians is bad. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary and Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary are also bad things. It's going to come at us fast and furious, so we have to be willing to choose our battles and direct our attention in ways where we're most effective. It also means finding our way through the internecine liberal battles to a place of unity. I don't know where that place is, but we have to find it in order to be a united front against fascism to come.
- Get away from your screen and into the world. Allocate specific time every day to turn off the phone, the tablet, the computer and just enjoy the world we're in right now, even if awful people are running around in it. There is always something every day worth appreciating, whether it's cloud formations, a flock of birds migrating, or the sounds of a choir somewhere in the distance. Widen your view and talk to some folks, even.
For some of you, this may be what you're doing already. For many, it's all too easy to get caught up in the constant drumbeat of hourly revelations from on high. I cannot stress this enough: Take care of you first, because we're going to need each other in the battles to come.
Always remember this, too: Do not normalize anything this miserable fascist does. Not one thing.
As I said at the beginning of this, I'm grateful for you. Two years from now, I want to fight the next electoral battle alongside you. And the one two years after that. Together, we shall overcome. For that, I am grateful in advance.
Much love and Happy Thanksgiving!