The Social Media & Politics Dilemma: A Personal View

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price,  bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”  

~  J. F. Kennedy

                                                                           

 Phase One: Obsession

I must admit I’ve been guilty of a little bit of social media/political obsession these past few months or so …well, maybe more like a LOT of an obsession this entire past year, and nearly all of it regurgitated onto my twitter and Facebook feeds. Still, I’m not quite sure how it even happened. After decades of complete and purposeful disinterest in politics, suddenly there was this old guy from Vermont with crazy hair I’d never heard of in my peripheral view. He managed to resurrect an old political-fighting spirit I thought dead and buried a long time ago. Yet from beneath the mountains of political disappointments caked in layers of frustrations, eventually given way to thirty years or so of apathy, some old political bone managed to gnaw its way through, much to my surprise (and more than a few family members and friend’s chagrin).

An inkling of hope miraculously took spark, probably from all that political Bern being spread around at the time.

I’m still kind of surprised that old flame caught fire, considering in the back of my mind I still held out hope for a Madam President Clinton, an idea  I’d latched onto way back in the political dust of the 1990’s. It, too, had somehow managed to linger. I’d even popped my head up briefly from where it’d almost permanently lodged itself in the sand to register some disappointment in 2008, when the country decided it was ready for its first African-American President before its first female one.

So, it was a bit of a shocker being jostled awake again in December of 2015 by someone old, male, and not even a democrat.But that’s exactly what happened, and jostled awake I was, which has been both incredibly inspiring and utterly disappointing during these past 14 months of political awareness.

I know I’m not alone in this feeling, nor am I alone on this roller-coaster of political upheaval we now face. Though being unaccustomed, and therefore unprepared for the aftermath of the presidential election was more than a little challenging.  Now, along with those nice new feelings of rediscovered hope I’d spent years burying, I’m saddled with the flip-side to all that pent-up emotion: a mouthful of frustration bordering on (and often spilling into) anger in response to our current political reality.

All of which is to say I had to take a BIG time-out from political engagement on social media…especially Facebook, just to regain some semblance of sanity, which is hard enough to come by these days, what with all the fake news and alternate truths running around.  

Phase Two: Burnout

Like so many before me, I found myself launching headlong into the abyss. Already suffering from social media burnout after the election, my obsession with politics took a temporary nosedive. There seemed just one-too-many disappointment for me to handle before going into total overload. My political momentum fizzled, along with any interest in what people had to say on my Facebook feeds that I’d  obsessively scoured only days before.

It was somewhere around the time two female democratic senators from my progressively democratic state decided to vote against Bernie’s prescriptions from Canada bill, costing us 98%-ers, with the help of 11 other Democratic senators, millions more in prescription drug expenses that I finally threw in the towel. I mean, when your own people vote against you, how in the heck can you fight the political enemy knocking loudly at the door?

Especially this enemy who’s like the giant looming down jack’s spindly beanstalk just before he grabs an ax to try and chop it down. We’re outsized. We’re outnumbered, and everything seems on the line. We need all the help we can get just to tread water, not the formerly allied turn-coats who leave us even more devastatingly behind. That final disappointment from my own senators was the final blow, one I nearly didn’t recover from…like I said, total burnout. It engulfed me and I checked out.

That final disappointment from my own senators was the final blow, one I nearly didn’t recover from…like I said, total burnout. It engulfed me and I checked out.  

Phase Three: Denial

What followed was the short-lived, but happy place in denial-land where I simply ignored all the tweets and comments, the alarming political appointments and verbal blunders. I pretended instead that the real world was the one I found on the four seasons of Newsroom I’d  started obsessively binge-watching on Amazon. After all, our new president had his own alternate facts created in some bizarro-world of alternative reality. Why couldn’t I?

Only, as time went on it became increasingly hard to ignore that my made-up alternate Newsroom reality was what our actual reality should be and the current backward, upside-down nightmare we were currently living was what our alternate reality should be. Somewhere along the way, I stopped being able to pretend. Real facts catch up to us all in the end, whether we like it or not. And the all-to-real, God-awful truth of today insisted on settling itself back in…damn that finicky friend denial, anyway.

Phase Four: Apathy

Sitting glumly, I stared at the wall for a few days which slid seamlessly into a few weeks, then suddenly I realized they’d slid right into the middle of February!  Though, by then my apathetic slump had started to recede. I soon rejoined the ranks of real-live humans and even had some lucky come trickling my way.After three long years of waiting, my disability finally kicked in, my 16-year-old daughter began face-timing me every day for long periods, which, as any mother of a teenage daughter knows is a minor miracle in itself.

And wouldn’t you know, my ole’ evergreen State of Washington managed to redeem itself by way of our Governor whose hand played a significant role in stopping the Trumped-up ban on Muslims in its unconstitutional tracks! Strike-one, Mr.T., and score one for the other side for once, thank you very much, Governor Inslee! 

Boy did some of us need that victory…

Phase Five: The Comeback

Now, here I find myself, February 19, 2017, slightly resurrected, battle-scarred and bruised like so many of us are, but with a fight still left in me. Though, sometimes a new day also brings a new outlook along with it. Now political interactions on my social media feeds don’t seem like such a good idea under this new, harsher light. I think I’ll keep my political posts to a minimum for a while.

…Although, who am I kidding, anyway?  I’m writing this long-winded diatribe into my dilemma with social media and politics on my WordPress blog which is linked to every online feed known to man, so it’s sure to show up on my twitter and Facebook pages…feel free to ignore it as it passes across your screen.

Or stop to comment, if you like, but let’s try to keeping things civil if we can. My nerves and yours are probably still raw from all the recent political wrangling.

So, here’s to a new day, everyone!  Keep up the good fight, stick together, and hang on tight!

We just might ride out this storm yet…

~Tishacp.

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