Exercising My Right . . . Not To

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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