Should I stop reading the news? What good does it do me to constantly feel impotent and angry? I can’t really effect any great change, all I can do is get angry and rant and talk and silently seethe. Okay, maybe write to a representative or two. Or go to a protest.
But there’s so much more bad news than there are actions to take in response to it. It raises cortisol levels and then leaves you nowhere to run.
Maybe there’s a balance. I’m sure there’s a balance. Just, what is it? Do I judge people who take “news breaks” or who just completely hide their heads in the sand and remain completely ignorant of current affairs? Like, I guess I’m already doing that when it comes to things that I don’t particularly value such as team sports and the like.
And I don’t constantly read the news all day long and mope and obsess about it either. I check in a couple of times throughout the day. I’ve started to develop nausea at even the thought of checking in on Trump’s twitter stream, so I’m stopping that as of now. I’ll just wait ’till the newspapers (or G.) report on anything of note or interest.
It’s not a joke. All the stuff that’s going on in the world right now. It’s not for laughing about – despite the laughable characters involved. I wish it was just an audition for an extended run of “Brazil”.
It was the earthquake in Mexico that pushed me over the edge this morning. I know, I know that wasn’t the direct result of anyone’s politics. And it wasn’t even related to climate change like so many of the other natural disasters wreaking havoc across the planet this month. (All the same, doesn’t it feel like earthquakes are getting stronger and stronger? Like the Earth is tearing its own hair out in frustration with us. I know, too melodramatic. Just feels not facts.).
But politics-caused or not, politics are going to affect the people who’ve been devastated by this recent event. I don’t love the prospect of reading about the death toll rising alongside the excuses for inaction worldwide. I know, everyone has their own problems at home, but when the fuck are we going to start thinking of ourselves as a global community.
Yes, do this – bring it home to myself and my own privilege. What will we directly as individuals do? Sure, we can’t easily fly out to help out there or anything. Consider it? We (or I) probably could do it, but I don’t think it’s the most effective long term use of our limited direct power. The most effective way is to use the set-up as is – countries’ power resides with their governments and the governments need to act.
But of course the governments are representing the whole people. So, as much as I give out about politicians and their equivocating, it’s back to the people who vote for them. Because they know that deep in the sick secret hearts of the public, lies the dark truth of “us not them”. And for all that a large majority might claim we want to help the global unfortunate, there’s a line that they don’t want crossed, a line when too much has gone away from “us” to “them” and that line is tragically close to the status quo.
In fact, Ireland is one of the “better” countries in the world for giving to charities as a percentage of our income and for helping worldwide. It’s one area where I’m cool with being bunched in with a group of people that isn’t “the whole human race”. (Actually, I’m not super sure how I feel about being grouped in with the whole human race!).
So, on an individual level, there’s the Red Cross, right? (and even that has attendant decisions to make. dot-IE or dot-ORG? And a quick google of Red Cross shows up this article – which I haven’t read yet.) Or Doctors Without Borders? I’ve done zero investigation around this. I guess it feels good to do something. And maybe all the better if that something doesn’t burst the bubble around my own fairly calm first-world disaster-free world.
And we’re back to that question around news-reading and the likes. Do I deserve to live in a bubble? Do I get to do that? I mean ultimately, no matter how much news I read and how sad and ineffective it makes me feel, at the end of the day I still get to return to my happy, safe life.
Do we have a duty to stay informed?