I originally wrote this back in August but set it aside. I may have been in a bad mood when I wrote it and was feeling too good the next day to post it, or maybe I lost it in the shuffle of my ideas pile, but today I opened it and read it again, wondering if I should clean it up and share it. I think I will. It’s still true but with one little shining star.
Over the last few weeks, as the coronavirus crisis feelings began to swell, I’ve noticed that most of my friends on Facebook are posting positive things. They’re sharing ideas about what to do to help, photos of their kids playing, and the positive stories about their neighborhoods and times we’ve gotten through a crisis in the past. It’s been more positive than negative, but there are a few “Debbie Downers” that feel compelled to share the shitty things they’ve witnessed. I’m ignoring them as best I can.
The tv news is a different story. I don’t usually watch tv news, but I’ve come across it more often lately and it’s just…I don’t even know how to describe it. I wish they’d repeatedly show something helpful, instead of the long lines at the store or the empty shelves. It’s more helpful to hear what we do know about the virus and the reasons behind the steps we’re being asked to take to slow it down. Instead, we have to search the internet for that information while we watch people break down in tears because they can’t find a parking space at Costco (which, by the way, I do almost every time I go there).
How can we fix the news? I have no idea, but we do have control over what we each personally share on our social media pages. Share love, share light, share helps, not fear. Here’s what I wrote back in August, after a mass shooting.
“Whenever anything ugly happens, the vultures come to feed on the remains.” That’s what I wrote in my journal today. I can’t stand to watch. The “news” media is there, being pushed back by the victims and the rescuers, to “report” on what’s happening. Why? They have no idea other than what they see. The only difference between them and anyone else there is that they have a camera and a huge audience. They receive and repeat rumors and speculation to millions of people that otherwise would not be affected by the event. Why? To get ratings and sell commercials. The whole thing makes me sick.
And then when someone tells them to leave, they get huffy: freedom of the press, I’m here for the people, the people need to know what’s going on. I call bullshit. You are there to feed off the carnage, to sensationalize a tragic event for ratings. What you are “reporting” isn’t helping anyone.
I keep hearing people say we need to “stop hate” and “end violence” but, in my opinion, that’s treating the symptom, not the disease. Most people react to despair with violence, against themselves and others. If you want things to get better, stop sharing and promoting despair.
Every day I watch my friends post their own version of despair and share with others. The environment is being destroyed. Global climate change is beyond help. Disease is spreading uncontrollably. Government is creating tyrants and taking over your life. The world is fucked beyond anyone’s control. And it’s the white people, the immigrants, the Muslims, the poor, the rich, the democrats, the republicans, etc. that are doing it to us! It’s that person or group’s fault. If we just got rid of them…
With every new tragic event across the world, the tv news sweeps in to spread the word. We blame it on the “media” but really it’s us. We watch. We share. We join in the chaos and add our own, 24/7, right there in the palm of our hands. It’s all too much. No wonder people are losing their minds. Some drown themselves in drugs and alcohol. Some in hedonism. Some in outward violence, taking as many people with them as they can.
Yes. Crappy things are happening. They always have and always will. But generally, when a crop fails, a man gets angry and shoots his neighbor, or parent succumbs to depression and hurts a child, it doesn’t have an effect on the whole world. But when you highlight it with a few emotionally charged pictures and words and then share it…you make it affect the whole world. You make everyone feel it, not just those in the immediate area.
That’s where I was back in August. It was a pretty dark day. Lucky for you, I don’t typically stay there. I’m too squirrel-like in my attention to sit and brood in darkness. There are far too many pretty and fun things in my immediate surroundings for my mind to dwell on.
I changed my own social media feed that day. I do post pictures of my cat, the pretty bird I saw, the movie I went to see, and the book I read. I try to spin the negative as much as possible. There has been a rant or two, which I promptly took down when I realized that my emotions took control of my thumbs. Telling you how angry I am at the grocery store clerk that squished my bread doesn’t solve anything.
I leave the politics to the politicians and the medical advice to the doctors and nurses. But I am a human (so far as I know) practitioner of peace and that’s what I offer the world right now: a little joy, a little peace, and a lot of love (from afar…you know “social distancing”).