For the past few days I've been trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to avoid the topic of politics. It seems to be all anyone is talking about. In real life, online, all the same. Even my clients have gotten into the act. That I understand since their Social Security and Medicare are at stake. I know Congress keeps saying it won't affect them, unfortunately politicians don't always understand the consequences of their decisions. Plus, all of them lie.
I admit, we need to take an interest because we vote. However, we also do other things. We sleep, we dream, we read, we have hobbies. We listen to music, watch TV, go to movies. Some of us are involved in charitable organizations or youth activities like Little League. We take walks, take dance classes. We go to the YMCA to walk on the treadmill or to swim. Some people plan vacations and enjoy themselves. Are we having conversations about these things? Why not?
I've looked around and all I'm seeing are people taking sides. The finger pointing, the name calling. The anger, the bullying, the hate. There are no informed, quiet discussions during which people are keeping an open mind with the view to learning more about the issue. Each side is doing nothing more than shouting loudly in the hopes of hiding the flaws in their own reasoning, and to gather followers willing to repeat every word they say as if they're pearls of wisdom.
I admit the occasional conversation about politics can add a little spice to an otherwise humdrum life, but this constant bombardment is in itself boring. I keep hearing Peggy Lee in my head singing "Is That All There is". Who knew that the internet, the highly touted Information Superhighway could become little more than a rut? Something tells me that what it's becoming isn't what the originators envisioned. How sad is that?
I've begun to believe that what we hear on the Nightly News is being directed by what's being discussed on the internet. It's become a driving force in our daily lives in a way that isn't always positive. How we act, what we say online is what is being reported because we give some events relevance by our conversations. Even people without internet connections can join the conversation because they get their information via the news. What goes viral on the net is more likely to be commented on at 6:30 pm. The news is no longer giving us the news, it's replaying what we want to hear, and we seem to want to hear the dirt. All of it. Every prurient detail. Then we want to talk about it until something else catches our fancy.
It has occurred to me that while everyone online and in coffee shops and bars are arguing about whatever the hot topic of the day is, I'm out there doing things that help people live independent lives. I'm engaged in positive pursuits, ones that really do make a difference. I think it's what I do for a living that is helping me learn to shut off much of the anger I see online when I shut off the computer. It still gets to me on some level, but not in a way that makes me want to fight back. I can even listen, in real life, to the opinions of those around me and smile without saying a word. After all, I have a blog for that.