I’m officially sick of politics – national and local. The presidential race is a circus sideshow with a bunch of candidates from both parties that scare rather than inspire me. Meanwhile, the Georgia Legislature creates bills to solve problems that don’t exist or attempts to divest citizens of their rights – despite federal rulings –and wastes taxpayer dollars doing so while ignoring more pressing needs. It’s totally done my head in.
I made up my mind to stop watching the endless, idiotic debates and town halls back in December. They were killing my holiday mood. I installed an app on my phone called Brief Me that aggregates top stories from news sources around the world. I also bookmarked a list of news sites – CNN, Fox, New York Times, LA Times, The Guardian, BBC, Le Monde, and Sydney Morning Herald – so that I could digest a wide variety of news from different sources. I highly recommend reading foreign press. You get a completely different view of America when you do.
What finally broke me of the 24-hour news cycle was the talking heads, who are all mostly shills from the various parties or special interest groups. They’ve all got a horse in the race, so it’s hard to get any objective news or information. The level of anger, vitriol and lack of common decency showcases the ugly side of us as a people. We hear so much about “American exceptionalism,” but, in my opinion, we are not having one of our finest hours. Sure, presidential campaigns are famous for turning ugly, but we are beyond the pale.
So, after I’ve checked my news sites I put down the smartphone or close my laptop and pick up a book. Or watch a movie (Turner Classic Movies is my Prozac). Or listen to music. Or go to dinner with friends (hurry up and reopen, Manuel’s Tavern, because I’m in withdrawals). Or travel. I’ve done a few weekend daytrips in the past few months (Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson, GA – the best!) and at the end of the month I’m headed to Los Angeles, Denver and New York City on a book tour for my new novel, Leaving Paris.
If you can’t stand anymore politics, I suggest doing the opposite of what Timothy Leary recommended back in the ‘60s: Turn off, tune out and take a deep, cleansing breath.