I have a very nice life. By most objective standards, I have nothing to complain about. Then why do I walk around with a knot in my stomach and a sense of dread in my heart? The answer is – I read the news. Every day. Somewhat obsessively.

The question is – Why? Why do I subject myself to ongoing angst when I could be living a minimally stressful retirement? The daily workings of the government usually have no effect on my existence. Even a major international crisis rarely intrudes on my day-to-day life. The policies of HUD rarely, if ever interfere with my peaceful existence in the ruralish suburbs of Connecticut.

Dogs playing in my peaceful backyard in the woods

So why can’t I stay away from the major source of anxiety in my life? And why do I feel anxiety about things that will probably have little or no effect on me or my family? Other than masochistic tendencies, I’m not sure about the answer.

I do know that I came from generations of passionately involved women who actively protested the injustices of their day. My grandmother protested against the czar in Russia and my mother marched in favor of labor unions in America. They brought me up to feel connected to the world around me. They made sure I empathized with those less fortunate than me. They made sure I chaffed at injustice and inequality. They made me incapable of turning away from the deprivation and suffering of others.

Early 1900’s protests against the czar in Russia

My mother and grandmother were both activists. They put their money where their mouths were. I’m not like that. I’m an introverted coward. I’m slightly claustrophobic about crowds. I don’t do rallies or marches or protests. But I sit at home and cheer them on and worry. Maybe staying informed is my penitence for not being out on the barricades.

Protests in favor of Unions in the 1930’s and 1940’s

In the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s, my grandmother chided me for not being a part of the protests that were taking place at Columbia University, where I was at college. The whole anti-Vietnam war movement started with Mark Rudd and the Columbia SDS chapter.

Their protests made the news. Photos of police on horseback clubbing students at my school were everywhere. The movement that was created there shaped the world for the next few years until the war was finally ended. It also shaped the whole Baby Boomer generation.

1967-1971 protests at Columbia University in NYC

My grandmother said that if the young generation didn’t make a revolution to change things for the better, then who would? I could have easily been a part of my generation’s ‘revolution’. But I wasn’t. It was a good one and I missed out.

My form of political involvement

So today, I read. I can’t stop, even when what I read depresses and scares me. On some level, I believe that being informed is a way of being involved. I also talk to family and friends and try to get them involved with the issues that interest me.

On Facebook, I take comfort in knowing there are so many others out there who also care about what I care about. So, I post and share articles that I think my online ‘friends’ should know about. Some of these people are honest to God activists. At least I can encourage and support them. It wouldn’t satisfy my grandmother, but it’s the best I can do.

Categories: Ellin Curley, News, protests

Tags: , , , ,

17 replies

  1. A guy walks into his doctor’s office and complains “hey Doc when I do this it hurts.” The Doc replies, “Don’t do that.” So now you know how to get rid of that gnawing sensation, in your gut, of impending doom.., don’t watch the “news.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From the other side of the pond, all I can do and do regularly, is watching the vids by the late show host S. Colbert. When he is away for a week, I’m deprived….. But I’m nearly in the same boat as you; I’m so deeply upset and fed up with the doings of the so called leaders that it causes me many a tear and a lot of pent up anger/frustration/feelings of impotence and the necessity of more visits to the little room than strictly desired. It’s a shi(tty) world out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This really IS an international thing. It isn’t just American. The British, Australians, Canadians and a whole pile of Europeans have similar problems. Their leader may not be quite as much of a total jerk as ours, but a lot of the policies really are and a lot of the changes they made are changing because nothing stays the same and laws are not etched in stone.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kiki, I really hope the Brits and others on the other side of the Pond — continue to royally roast Cheeto Head. I Loved the protest signs and banners displayed in the London street demonstrations. Cheeto Head isn’t deaf or blind. He just wants adoration and validation.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I left FB because it was nothing but a bunch of useless arguments and people reposting headlines from the news. No one wrote thoughtful essays like this. I like Twitter because there’s poetry and other stuff happening besides politics. But, as you say, it’s difficult to avoid feeling down about the current situation. As an older woman with a job and chronic migraines, I can’t run around yelling and marching. I try to be supportive with my “hearts” lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everyone should just do what they can. Apathy is the real enemy!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Paula, I usually quickly skim/skan the political rants on Facebook. Rarely, do I comment. FB is for shares about old memories, trivia and other light hearted stuff. I usually post such themed Serendipty pieces on Facebook, hoping it’ll bring smiles and lighten the day for others. I get angry watching the news and the late night comics summarizing the political follies. I particularly dislike the exposure to Fox News and Oval Office Minions and Syncophants…but they’re tools for the comics satirizing the unfunny news.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Garry pointed out that we watch a lot more news than we used to and I pointed out there’s a lot more news than there used to be. And it DOES affect us. Directly and personally. Also, for me, there is something terrible about watching the things I fought for collapsing. Seeing everything I was proud of put at risk by this dickhead and his clowns.

    I’m glad my mother isn’t here to see this. She’d probably say “See? I told you so!”

    Liked by 2 people

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