America can make anyone tired. It has that unique American ability to be exhausting and make anyone at any time tired.
To absorb the daily news of America’s actions and inactions is to inhale smog, dirt, pollution, and grime.
School shootings, lost rights for women, political lies all across the news and social media, and of course, the fuel that keeps America running – racism – never, ever, sleeps.
Are there good news and feel-good stories to know and share?
Of course there are. For instance:
- Unemployment is at the lowest levels in decades.
- Build Back Better will transform lives, wages, access to healthcare, pre-K schools, roads and bridges, and access to clean water and air. BBB will deliver even more – check it out on the federal government’s website.
But as is typical in this country, all good news will be presented by the television and print media as “not enough” or “bad for business or the wealthy.“
Negativity is like fire in that it quickly spreads from your living room to your kitchen, past your bathroom, and right to your roof. The American media holds the matches that ignites the flames that spread the hate and racism. They profit off the misery they push onto the people.
And then they blame the president or, most likely, the vice president.
And consumers do what consumers do: They overconsume media to the point of being sick.
Older viewers drink from the well of cable and network news and when they turn off the television, they are reenergized with the firm knowledge that the country is going to hell and the reason why is <insert any group, person, idea, thing that is non-white> and if “those people” can just be silenced, jailed, stopped from immigrating, drugged, or killed, then we will have our country back.
Younger generations complain that elders – Boomers in particular – are leaving them a shit country. And other generations blame other generations.
The phrase “This is why we can’t have nice things,” actually applies to you.
And her and him.
And of course politicians are to blame for managing cities, towns, states, and the nation, with the shittiest skills, which result in the worst outcomes that deliver the fewest benefits to the most people. Oh, there are successes – The Affordable Care Act, higher wages, stimulus checks, debt reduction and elimination of student loans. The celebrations are drowned out, ignored, and tamped down because misery sells.
The cycle is exhausting. Fighting the same battles our elders fought is exhausting. Fighting police brutality and vigilantism, along with all-white juries, is exhausting.
Fighting for rape prosecutions, access to safe abortions, access to clean air and water, and access to funding, new textbooks, and for actual U.S. history to be taught in schools are all exhausting.
Listening to the “Supreme” Court debate abortion while they ignore children hiding in classrooms from other kids with guns is exhausting because those who should have, at the least, common sense, do not.
If you are exhausted, ask yourself if you’ve earned the right to be exhausted. Have you done all you can do? Voting is one thing and often the single most important societal contribution most people will make.
And that goes for your extended family. Are you nosy enough to get into their business to ask about their personal relationships, but not interested enough to ask about if they vote and if so, who they vote for locally, statewide, and nationally?
Are they helping or hurting the cause for justice, access, and ending individual racism and systemic racism? And if they are not helping, they are hurting, in which case: what are you doing about it? Are you getting tired from trying? I sure hope so.
There is nothing wrong with being tired, just like there is nothing wrong with getting reenergized and getting back into the game, the job, or the arena and trying again.
Whether you try what you tried before or you branch out and try something new, as long as you’re trying and doing, that is what matters most. The outcomes aren’t guaranteed because that is not how life in this or any other country works. The effort also isn’t always rewarded or recognized, either. But so what? Every inch matters. That is how valleys, mountains, rivers, and canyons are formed – inch by excruciating inch.
So, be tired, get rest, get angry, take a break, read a book, decompress, drink your beverage, or smoke your weed. Just (safely) do what you need to do to get back in the battle because you – yes you – are needed now more than ever.
With the 2022 midterms coming and strong Democratic governor candidates on the ballot in Texas and Georgia, Robert (Beto) O’Rourke and the unstoppable Stacey Abrams, respectively, there will be brutal days ahead online and in real life as Republicans blow every racist dogwhistle – Critical Race Theory! Border! Black people! – to scare voters into handing them power to disrupt the Biden-Harris agenda for 2022-2024. Val Demings is looking to unseat absent, ineffective senator Marco Rubio in Florida, and there are a host of local elections that matter as much as any of the big name races.
So gird up, drink your water, and moisturize your pretty faces because it will be a wild ride from now until then.
As the old gospel song says:
“I don’t feel no ways tired.
I’ve come too far…
Nobody said, the road would be easy.”
© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.
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Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends.
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