At first I thought I was not writing because of busyness. The week between Christmas and New Year’s I had script contest deadlines followed by an out of town weekend with my husband to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. Then came post-holiday cleaning and all that necessary work at the beginning of a new year.
Then I thought I was not writing because I was angry. Two groups of people standing on either side of a line yelling at each other at the top of their lungs is just a waste of time. I tried to avoid getting sucked in, but I have deeply held convictions too. When the shouting persists in perpetuity, it is difficult to not to get caught up in the frenzy. I kept telling myself, “Do not engage. Do NOT engage!” So I did not post, comment on or “like” anyone’s political anything. But it did not work. I still did not write. My husband told me to write blog posts which I would never post. Good advice. But I didn’t follow it. Instead I filled his ear and the ears of a few close friends who would let me spew without unfriending me on Facebook.
The problem is the yelling, right? Until everyone calms down, I can’t think or write. But what if everyone never calms down? What if life never goes back to “normal”? What if I can never just write about the very odd things that seem to happen only to me and my family or the lessons I learn about my own human heart? Will there ever be a time when I can write about anything but politics and be relevant? Who will be David Letterman this time and make it okay to laugh and talk about something else?
Tonight I am sitting here thinking of the three blogs posts I could whip out. I want to tell you about them. I really do. Instead, I lament that I will never write them. Then my little girl pads out of her room and calls, “Mama, I need you to snuggle with me.”
And there it is.
Why do politics matter?
Because we care about people – our families, our communities, and strangers we do not even know.
Because we have an idea about what would make our schools, our country, and our world a better place for those people.
We SHOULD be passionate about what we believe and fight for it. Otherwise, we don’t really love anyone, do we?
I am not a brilliant politician or a highly knowledgeable correspondent. I listen to the news. I try to be aware of what is happening in the world. I vote. I like to think I am a reasonable person, but anything can be debated. If I join the frenzy, even if I do have something profound to say, I become just another shouting voice with less friends who stand across the line from me. That would be a deep, deep loss.
This is my blog. I don’t need Letterman to tell me it is okay to not write about politics. I just need a good dose of Mr. Keating. In the 1989 film, Dead Poet’s Society, Mr. Keating takes his class of school boys onto a patio to learn to about conformity. After instructing them to find their own physical walk, this extraordinary professor addresses a student who still stands leaning against a pillar.
“Mr. Dalton, will you be joining us?”
“Exercising the right NOT to walk.”
Like Charlie Dalton, I am exercising my right to NOT write about politics in this blog. If you want to have a personal discussion with me about the current administration, let’s have coffee and talk eye-to-eye and really hear each other. But in this blog I will only write about the many reasons why we should care – people. As a reporter on NPR stated last week,
“…and now, and I will be saying this many times, there are other things happening in the world.”
Don’t worry. I promise not to post any cat videos.
Check out the scene from Dead Poet’s Society:
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