I’ve gotten to where I can’t take it. I am disgusted with myself as I generally feel loads of contempt for those who choose to be willfully ignorant. Now, I am willfully among that population. Once upon a time, I considered myself well-informed. I read and watched news – multiple sources of news. I had a general idea of what was happening in the US and even to an extent abroad. Sure, I couldn’t tell you who the prime minister of Uganda was (if they even have a PM), but if Uganda’s political structure came up in casual conversation, I would defer to those who obviously knew more about it than I am. While I love(d) a good debate, I would not wade into a fray if I didn’t feel like I had at least a rudimentary understanding of the facts. I had no problem saying “I just really don’t feel as if I know enough about this to talk about intelligently about it.”
For several years now, the news has been a total and complete turn-off. Even beyond the whole media bias/slant thing (I’m sorry, everyone is guilty there. I love to dream about a world where facts – just the facts, ma’am – are fed into a supercomputer and read/streamed aloud, devoid of any adjectives or adverbs that could at all be polarizing to any side.), the news itself is just…….bad. All the time. And when you introduce the constant and complete punditry that now is the obligatory companion to it, it makes my sphincter just tighten, all the way to my esophagus. I seriously feel my gut clench. And my teeth.
This horrible shooting is the latest example. I’m not going to discuss my emotions on it. Everyone else in the media and on social media is doing that. The emotions ought to be pretty damn obvious. I will, however, join the chorus of those who are nauseated that this is yet another example of people taking a horrendous thing and using it as a pulpit for legislation and finger-pointing. It’s not decent. And by decent, I mean nothing religious. I mean decent as in “what the hell is the matter with you all, those poor little bodies aren’t yet cold?” And it does feel worse when you’re a parent yourself.
I joked after the 2008 election that I couldn’t stomach the news anymore, that my TV would be all Spongebob, all the time. There are no righteous/holier-than-thou types in Bikini Bottom, or at least not yet. I have occasionally poked my head out when I thought something “important” might be happening. Honestly, it’s been a good excuse, having a toddler. The TV stays on Nick Jr for her benefit. I’m simply part of the legion of parents too busy to be informed. But honestly? Who wants to be?
The economy sucks. Taxes are going up. Unemployment is still up. Democrats hate Republicans. Republicans hate Democrats. The Middle East is on fire. North Korea is about to test-fire a rocket. The defenseless are dying. Just this morning in our local paper, I read of an asshole who was arrested for breaking a little boy’s arm (and beating him with an extension cord) because the child didn’t know his ABCs. Who the hell would want to know about this stuff beyond what’s directly in our line of sight or bank accounts? It’s depressing and essentially we’re powerless to stop or alter any of it to any great degree. I vote, but for what? I’m not vain enough to think for a moment that I have the answers to solve any of this, to unlock the mysteries of why this stuff is.
So I shall take my head and bury it. If you need me, I’m in the sand.