I’m afraid yesterday’s post sounded willfully ignorant, choosing not to watch the Republican National Convention because I don’t have cable TV. Obviously, I could have streamed it through NPR.
The truth is my brain needed a break. As it was, I felt bombarded by the live tweeting of the event. It seems like the GOP’s rhetoric and all the recent gun violence are spewed from the same swirling hate machine. I barely have time to process it, let alone write about it, before another incident occurs.
I felt gutted by the death of Montrell Jackson, a person of color and Baton Rouge police officer, who wrote a poignant and heartfelt Facebook post only days before he was killed. “Please don’t let hate infect your heart,” he wrote. “I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat.”
I don’t know what to do with all this violence, what action to take, what words to write.
This morning on the treadmill, the TV screen was playing CNN. I assumed it would be about the Republican candidate saying something he will later deny. Instead, it was all about Melania Trump plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008. The Republican spokesman being interviewed said, “Melania didn’t feel she’d plagiarized Michelle Obama.” Except, of course, facts are not felt. Facts are facts. Somehow the GOP always considers the truth debatable.
What struck me about this coverage, however, wasn’t the plagiarism but the laser focus on Melania Trump. On CNN and all my social media feeds, there was almost no coverage of Donald Trump himself, the actual candidate. It seemed intentional, a ruse. He’d managed to deflect all the attention to his wife. The media loves to skewer a woman. Again, I see the swirling hate machine.
And I have to step outside of it.
I turn my attention to the small and mundane. I mulch the flower beds. I finish an essay about the garden. I take my daughter to her first swimming lesson, and later on, her first haircut. Two firsts in one day! On the way home, I stop to admire the Queen Anne’s lace that grows along the marsh.
Perhaps my posts on the everydayness of life seem like more willful ignorance. But I consider them radical acts of refocus, of turning toward the light.
(Post 182 of 365)