Not Proud to Be an American

I’ve been pretty much glued to the news lately.  I read it obsessively.  Ever since Trump was elected, I’ve become more and more interested in what’s going on.  I started out following local news channels and media on Twitter, then started getting some newsletters delivered to my inbox, and I’ve finally succumbed to a free trial of the New York Times because I’m sick of hitting the pay wall.  I dislike the ethics behind paying for news, but I may do it.

This is an obsession bordering on unhealthy.  I do want to be informed, especially so I can vote knowledgeably (and you better believe I’ll be voting in every single election from here on out).  But the news has started to affect my productivity somewhat.  Not all the time.  But last week, with the family separation crisis at the border, I didn’t get as much done at work as I could have because I was following stories.  Sometimes I get the “stress band” headache from reading the news (is this a sign of getting old?).

On the radio the other day, the DJs were giving tips on how not to let the news ruin your life.  They suggested starting your day with an uplifting podcast, limiting news consumption to a specified amount of time, and intentionally looking for and sharing positive news stories.

Those are good tips I guess.  I should probably try some of them.  I read a whole book in one sitting the other day — the first time I’ve done that in months — and that helped.  But the thing is, the news is stuff that’s actually happening.  And the stuff that’s happening right now is just bleh.

You all probably know all this as well as I do.  This administration’s zero-tolerance policy resulted in horrific family separations, and while Trump did give in to pressure by ordering families be detained together, the situation is still a mess.  (Understatement.)  Trump’s new tariffs resulted in Harley-Davidson planning to move some production overseas, which means a loss of jobs despite his promises to grow them.  Congress can’t agree on immigration legislation so they’re just going round and round and round.  Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, meaning Trump will have the chance to nominate a new one, and that is a decision that will have consequences for decades to come.  Our two main political parties are so drastically divided that it seems like neither of them is willing to even consider any legislation by the other.  It’s insane.

It’s disheartening.  And I’m not even of a demographic that will be touched by any of these decisions directly, most likely.  I don’t have too much to fear as far as my own comfort or lifestyle.  But I do like to think I care about others.

I have to admit, I struggle to connect with people in person.  Part of this is my introverted personality and part of it is probably fear and insecurity.  Part of it is that I don’t really know what to do physically to help the people I care about intellectually.  I’m not trying to make excuses; just to explain.  (Maybe a little bit to justify my inaction to myself, if I’m truly honest.)

Regardless, it seems to me that the administration that holds most of the power in this country right now does not care about those that are “other.”  They don’t care about anyone who isn’t a US-born citizen.  They don’t care about anyone who isn’t straight.  They don’t care about anyone who isn’t wealthy or white.  There may in fact be some members of our majority government who really do care about these people, but that is not the image they are sending out to US citizens or to the world.  As an American, I am honestly ashamed to be associated with that.

Because I’m ashamed, I’m determined.  I’m determined to vote, determined to speak, and determined to find ways to physically show my support to the people our administration is dismissing.  It’s uncomfortable for me to even think about.  I’d much rather hide in my house every day and watch Netflix.  But I’m reading the book of Matthew right now (this isn’t a tangent, I promise), and I’m re-learning that Jesus loved everyone who was marginalized.

If you read my post from a few months ago, you know that I decided (again) to follow Jesus, and it’s becoming my foundation.  I can tell that decision has helped me combat news stress and my anger over it.  I still get angry over what’s going on now, but I’m starting to be able to handle it better.  And I’m remembering that humans do not have a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).  I’m taking that as truth and it’s giving me confidence and driving my determination.

I’d really like to know how you all are reacting to these recent events.  Are you volunteering?  Joining protests?  Tweeting and talking?

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

8 comments

  1. While you’re not in a demographic that is going to be deported, I think you and I and just about everyone else is going to feel the Trump presidency for decades. Soon, prices of our manufactured goods will be going up (appliances, cars, anything else made of metal). Our rights will be trampled by Trump’s pro-business, anti-other supreme court, and our standing with the rest of the world has got to be in the gutter. God forbid a time comes when a large portion of *our* country needs to turn to Canada or Mexico for help.

  2. I, too, am ashamed. I’ve been very vocal, even though I am the “right” demographic for this administration (and I use the term administration very very loosely). Because if I stay silent when they come for the Muslims, and I stay quiet when they come for the #blacklivesmatter activists, and I stay silent when they come for the Hispanic immigrants, and I stay silent when they come for the LGBTQ community, and I stay silent when they come for any “other” demographic… then I have no right to bitch when they come for me.

    I, too, will be voting in every. single. election. from now on. I struggled for years to regain my right to vote and I was so very proud to exercise that right in 2016 (and vote for the person who actually won the popular vote). I will be proud to exercise that right in this off-year election. Because if I don’t vote, then I have no right to complain.

  3. I have the same frustrations of the current administration and embarrassed to be called an American. (I think you forgot about the Supreme Court upholding Trump’s travel ban.) It seems like all the progress that social activists and Americans have made so far will be reversed, and there’s no telling how long it will take to reverse those reversals. I believe he and his administration are dangerous because of the decisions they’re making are discriminatory and gravely affects so many people, in addition to the lies and inconsistencies he and his administration are releasing. (He’s also as fake as his orange glow.) I like the idea of listening to uplifting podcasts and stories that give hope outside of the mess this administration is causing, however, at the end of the day, the worst news that causes us so much stress for others is hard to stay from because we care how they affect people. I think you’re going in the right direction with this inspirational post that many can relate to. You can also contact your representative because they are supposed to represent your interests.

    • I have been contacting my representatives more recently and not planning on stopping. I also feel like our built-in checks and balances aren’t working as well as they are supposed to and I don’t know if I’ve just never paid attention to how our government operates before or if our admin’s use of power really is unprecedented.

    • The Republicans were blocking much of what the Obama administration was trying to do. Other than Obamacare and some gun safety measures (especially after the Sandy Hook School Shooting), one the most harmful things Republican Senators did was toward the end of Obama’s second term – didn’t give Merrick Garland (Obama’s pick to fill Scalia’s vacancy who has the respect from both Republicans and Democrats) the time for the Senate to decide. Neither the Judicial or Executive branches were able to make Republicans give time to see if they wanted Garland to begin with. I believe Congress have been messed up for a while, especially with ultra-conservative groups that elect representatives who will not compromise. That’s one of the things that I learned from John McCain’s book. If they don’t compromise, nothing gets done. Also, from proof of campaign contributions, Republicans won’t even consider to compromise on increase gun safety measures despite the rampant killings by guns. In terms of the Judicial branch, I believe like this is the only branch that actually does its job as the Constitution states. I also believe that previous administrations knew how to behave or eventually learned to conform to the political climate, despite some presidents with mental or personal issues and were not career politicians, but the current one just wants to make money off the government and acts a drama queen or very childish.

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