FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Knowing When to Turn Off the News

The news hurts.

I can’t handle watching it because it hurts. I can’t deal with seeing Facebook posts about it. I can’t even hear jokes about it from Stephen Colbert.

It’s not funny. It just hurts.

Sometimes I think it would hurt less if I were less aware. If I understood less about how the government worked, I might not be so upset about Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy resigning and Trump appointing his replacement.

I wouldn’t know that Kennedy is the swing vote on the court, and that the court will shift to the right once he is gone. I wouldn’t have to worry about what that would mean for the country if I didn’t understand it.

I wouldn’t be burdened with the knowledge of past Supreme Court cases that harmed our nation, like Citizens United, which opened up the doors for unlimited money in politics, or the recent Janus decisionthat struck a blow to public labor unions. It would bother me less if I didn’t fear that even worse decisionscould be on their way from a more conservative court.

It would be nicer not to know about immigrant children in cages, or the climate crisis, or how hard life still is in Puerto Rico long after the hurricane that took out the island’s electricity.

It’s tempting to tune out. But ignoring disturbing news doesn’t make the news go away. If I didn’t know about toddlers facing immigration court alone, that wouldn’t make it untrue.

The same is true for all of us. We all have the choice: Do we want to know, or don’t we? And then a second choice: Are we going to do something about it?

But most of us have another concern: How do we maintain our mental health while also doing the right thing? Taking in all of the news is debilitating. If I keep up my usual habit of 24/7 news consumption, I won’t be able to get out of bed.

The most obvious ways to take action can feel too insignificant to make a difference. I can call my representatives (and call, and call, and call). I can attend protests. I can donate money to worthy causes. When there are elections, I can vote. I can volunteer for candidates I like. I can share information on social media.

None of this feels like enough.

I don’t have the answers. I know I’m not the only one struggling. But I think I’ve figured one thing out: It’s OK to turn the news off sometimes. It’s OK to log out of Facebook, too.

Taking action is important, and we all need to know what’s going on and what needs to be done. But we don’t need to marinate in the news all day long. Not when it hurts this badly.

If you’re watching the news, ask yourself if you’re making yourself more or less able to act by watching it. If you find yourself simply getting more and more upset and less able to function, turn it off.

If you need to, pick one issue and focus on it. If it helps, find a candidate for office that wants to do something about it, or an organization that works on it, and get involved.

Figure out where your interests and skills can have the greatest effect, and put your effort there. Then allow yourself to let some other things go, because you can’t do more than your own part — especially if you can’t get out bed.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail