April in Glenwood: Lifting up a falling sky
I’ve been feeling a little like Chicken Little in recent months. The idea that the sky is falling has crossed my mind more than a few times.
Politics have made me a nervous hen lately.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve avoided most things political. That’s with the exception of dressing up as a certain vice presidential candidate for Halloween, who I may or may not have resembled, back in 2008. Think Tina Fey, “you betcha!” and being able to see Russia from Alaska.
I’ve historically skirted the issue of politics in conversation, my column and stand-up jokes because I’m not much of an expert on the subject. My debating skills, especially concerning politics, are less than impressive. I get too emotional and opinionated to calmly discuss something so divisive.
Instead, I deflect by using sarcasm.
The subject is best left to the experts who studied political science in college or couldn’t get enough of government class their senior year in high school. And the journalists, cable TV commentators and politicos who have dedicated their careers, and lives, to how our towns, cities, counties, states and nation are governed. I’ve always voiced my opinion by voting.
Even that one time for Ross Perot.
It’s important as Americans to have a say about the direction of our country, even when our candidates don’t win. We should have the opportunity to support causes we feel most passionate about — for me it’s the arts, education, animals, workplace equality, women’s rights, LGBT rights and the environment.
Just to name a few.
Lately I find myself reading articles about executive orders, bills introduced and budgets potentially being cut, wondering if it’s indeed the end of the world. I get so mad about politics, I want to run for office because that’s the only way I can see making a difference. I think to myself, “I don’t even know you anymore,” as politics adversely affect my mood and relationships with friends and family. I’ve been unfriended on Facebook solely based on politics.
Talk about divisive.
Yet here I am, devoting many hours of my life thinking about/freaking out over politics, which have never been my thing, but suddenly are. I guess now that I’ve brought a human being into this world, I’m paying more attention. I could easily blame the Internet or social media for my paranoia and preoccupation with politics. The political headlines are practically unavoidable online, and I don’t see a lull in sight. That is, unless I go completely off grid and out of pocket for the rest of my existence — virtually impossible in my line of work. I could always become a survivalist and write books about the lifestyle on an old typewriter and submit pages by mail.
And by books, I mean manifestos.
As far as I can tell, I won’t be living off the land in a back-country homestead any time soon. I need to channel all this wasted energy from political frustrations to something more beneficial to my mental health. I can say I’m much more in tune with who’s introducing bills and making laws than I was prior to the current administration. If the goal is to get us fired up, then there has been success.
I definitely feel the heat.
I have seen positives emerge from the chaos, and the irony is not lost on me. Men, women and children have all come together to support different causes, from the impacts of an oil pipeline on the environment and indigenous people to the need for females to be shown respect and equality in the workplace, and beyond. Artists are rising up to express themselves through their chosen mediums, whether that’s music, film, comedy, theater and more. I’ve watched my journalism friends and colleagues stand together to create an affront to being labeled “enemies of the state.”
I assure you, I’m definitely an ally.
Each week I tune into “This Is Us,” my new favorite show, as it tops the ratings with often heart-wrenching depictions of issues involving race, sexual orientation and addiction. I’m known to have an ugly cry or two while watching, and it helps clear my Chicken Little feelings. I think the focus on love, life and family featured in “This Is Us” is what we need.
A little sarcasm never hurts, either.
April E. Allford had two big, ugly cries after watching last week’s “This Is Us” and “Nashville.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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