By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter
Yesterday, I indulged in the ultimate luxury. I spent hours reading The New York Times. In addition to the Sunday edition, I also had a pile of "catch-up" reading; I subscribe to all seven days, so that pile gets pretty big some weeks. Everything from science to food to international affairs. Many, many thought-provoking and inspiring stories about innovation, courage and - yes - progress.
Sure, the world is full of tragedy, trauma, risks, and conflict. But, it's always been that way. Check out the book The Rational Optimist for a different perspective. Believe it or not - civilization keeps getting more civilized. Here's a link to his blog too.
So, it was a lovely day of literary gluttony.
Then I got to Timothy Egan's The Clown and the Cop. *Sigh*
Trapped with a Fox News big screen in my stable of trotters at the gym a few weeks ago, I took in the worldview that may give the White House to Republicans this year. After burning 400 calories, I was ready to torch the capital.
For almost half an hour I heard another rehash of how my tax dollars were spent on a clown, a comic and a mind reader at a retreat for government workers outside Las Vegas in 2010. Those tin-eared bureaucrats in the General Services Administration spent a total of $835,000. An outrage, of course, and it was typical, I was informed, of runaway government spending under Barack Obama.
Not mentioned during my face time with Fox was a defense bill passed by the House that same day authorizing $642 billion in spending next year — almost $8 billion more than the Defense Department asked for. And this vote broke a promise by the Tea Party-backed Congress, when they agreed last year to cut defense spending over 10 years.
I finished the article, did my usual eyeroll...and...right then and there I decided no more. I'm going to stop reading about: the GOP, Fox Noise, and Romney's campaign. And, it's not because I'm an Obama supporter (which I am). The reason I'm going to do my best to ignore the GOP, Fox and Romney is that I'm done with hate, ignorance and stupidity. I'm simply not going to waste any more time.
I already know that no matter what Obama does, the opposition hates him - so why waste my time reading (or listening to) yet one more screamin' spewin' jerk? (As Jon Stewart noted about Rush Limbaugh during the Flum hoo-ha, we've always known Limbaugh is a terrible person. And, thankfully, his "fans" are a relatively small percentage of the population.)
I already know that Congress is going to continue to act like a bunch of toddlers in a sandbox. So why waste energy getting upset?
I already know that Fox and the GOP are anti-science, anti-education, anti-environment, and anti-women - so why waste my time on their promotion of ignorance? (That spinning noise we all hear - it's Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Dwight Eisenhower spinning in their graves. Wait! I think even Nixon is starting to roll...he did create the EPA after all.)
I already know - as proven in the primaries and previous campaigns - that Mitt Romney will literally say anything if he thinks it'll help him get ahead. So, why waste my time reading more of the same ol' same ol'?
I already know that far too many groups pander to the American sense of entitlement, so why waste my time on their ridiculous spins? (No, we're not "special" or "better" just because we say we are...)
I didn't say, however, that I'm giving up. I'll vote. I'll contribute to campaigns. I'll write to my elected officials. I'll recycle. I'll give back. I'll support worthy causes. I'll even post comments here and there on Facebook and blogs in an attempt to get people to stop and think, including offering reading lists (Seriously. If you're going to compare anyone in American politics to Hitler and the Nazis, you should know the reality.) I'll also post links to the actual data (for example, on government spending). Whatever the "anti-troll" is - that's me. (Of course, you can't get through to some people. They've made up their minds. They hate. They scream. They seem to want to be unhappy. Those folks - you give it one polite try and move on.)
It's not that bad, really. Unless we let it be.
P.S. Need a quick, low-cost pick-me-up? Get a stack of Smithsonian magazines. Pour an adult libation. Sit on the front porch. Wave to neighbors. Drink. Read. Think. Repeat as necessary. Works for me.