As a journalist I am, of course, all for an informed citizenry. Democracy dies when the public is kept in the dark or disconnects from what our government is up to. But sometimes staying too informed can be hazardous to your mental health. At least that’s been the case for me when it comes to staying on top of the latest abominations from the Trump administration.
During the run-up to the election, I was glued to the news: Politico, the New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, FiveThirtyEight—anywhere I could get an update on what I hoped would be Trump’s demise. But when the loathsome man-child was elected, I doubled down on my news consumption with equal parts horror and incredulity. How can this be happening?
Over the next few weeks, I noticed a change in myself. I knew Trump’s rogues gallery of cabinet picks inside and out and read the news of each executive order with pained interest. But my binge consumption of Trump news was making me unhappy. So I unplugged from Trump news. Trump was president. Every one of his utterances or actions was horrible. What else did I need to know? I focused on my kids again. I admired spring flowers.
But then some new outrage pulled me back, and there I was again, hitting refresh on the DailyKos or ProPublica sites. Surely, such an incompetent and ignorant creature would fall on his own gilded sword and rid our nation of this waking nightmare. But it was not to be, at least not yet. And the cycle continued. Binge on news. Feel angry and depressed. Withdrawal from news. Reconnect with the beauty of the world only to be pulled back into Trumps’ festering stench of lies and arrogance.
As I look past Independence Day, I’ve come up with a new course of action. I’ll keep abreast of the latest Trump news, but refrain from plunging down the rabbit hole of Trump’s moral turpitude. Instead, I’ll do something that would irritate the popular vote loser. I’ll reach out to immigrants or Muslims and those more frightened than me by what Trump might do to them. I’ll step out of my comfort zone to defend our climate, our oceans, our air, our food supply. And I’ll strive to be honest, kind and humble. Trump would hate that.
Stett Holbrook is the editor of the ‘Bohemian.’
Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].