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Opinion: Notes on the news

It just keeps on coming doesn’t it? After all we have gone through the past almost three years, to still be getting hammered by “life” feels mind-numbing. How much longer can we realistically navigate this nightmare and still have a relatively rational expectation for things to finally improve – to get better, back to normal?

How much longer will we even remember what “normal” was?

And what about all the young people who now have grown up this past decade or two in this digital jungle? My generation at least has a reference point to a time and place when things made more sense and reality was something that was, well, real. What about the kids who think that screens are the same thing as the living, breathing, tactile, personal world of their parent’s generation?

I have this reoccurring nightmare about 20-somethings sitting in a room on their army base with the air-conditioning blasting and driving drones halfway across the world and taking out “the enemy” by pushing a button – just like in a video game only in this “game” people bleed and die. I keep thinking how hard it must be – or can be – to keep connecting the dots, to stay grounded, rational and in the (real) present. I assume part of this nightmare – maybe all of it -- has something to do with these horrid continuous mass shootings executed by these obviously insane young white guys full of irrational hate, hate sourced from screens and souless talking heads.

As I write this, I ask myself what a kid would think if they read what I am saying. Would anything I am saying even remotely ring any kind of a bell, or would they just roll their eyes back and laugh? What’s up with this guy? Have no idea what he is talking about. Idiot. Of course, they don’t know what I am writing about. They have never experienced it.

Some things we can control. I know this.

Do we choose to continue to graze on social media even when we know that, day by day, it distorts and corrupts the world around us and continues to grow and consume parts of who we are – or who we used to be? Mother used to say that “nothing good happens after midnight.” Well, it’s after midnight most of the time these days, and social media is arguably the virus that makes it so.

Anne Lamont has always been my go-to when things look darkest. She always seems to find refuge in times of despair and write about it, like what she wrote after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade.

“I will celebrate that I have shelter and friends and warm socks and feet to put them in, and that God or Gus found a way to turn the madness and shame of my addiction into grace, I’ll shake my head with wonder, which I do more and more as I age, at all the beauty that is left and still works after so much has been taken away. So, celebrate with me. Step outside and let your mouth drop open. Feed the poor with me, locally or, if you want to buy me something, make a donation to UNICEF. My party will not be the same without you.”

I didn’t do her prose justice because I didn’t provide more context, but suffice it to say that she is really good at finding light in dark places and doing so with redeeming humor.

Place one foot in front of the other. Repeat. Keep moving. Don’t look back. Look forward – up at the horizon. “Yes we can.” Thank you, Jackie Littlefield.