Our America: Is it Safe to Get Up in the Morning?
I attended a CPR class today in which one of the instructors attempted to answer this question, "Do more heart attacks happen in the morning soon after people wake up?" She didn't tell us whether it's actually true or false, as far as waking up goes, but she did talk to us about a body at rest/asleep and all the energy required to run that body's system's upon waking. She ended up saying she could easily see how the simple shock of awakening and being pushed to function fully could trigger a massive heart attack.
What a horrible concept for a fear-obsessed nation to ponder. In this bubble wrap world--you know, a world that's constantly evaluating how to live life with the least amount of risk--I can imagine someone postulating that waking up in the morning is simply too risky.
Would not waking up be better?
The lesson here is life is risky business. Wake up and dance! (The teacher didn't say this. I did.)
I got more out of the class than these odd thoughts, but I think my little meditation on that one thought was worth the six-hour training. I needed to consider a fearless philosophy because this year's election nastiness has sometimes made me want to stay in bed with the covers over my head, sleeping as long as possible, to hide from America self-destructing.
It feels like a lot of folks are running around declaring that they support freedom and equality but all they really want is to fight about matters such as who suffers more, women or black people? These types of arguments can really twist someone who's both female and African-American into knots.
We seem to be in a mode of pundits purposely misreading what a candidate says and candidates purposely "misspeaking," of attacking people for their beliefs that formed in them legitimately through painful life experiences (Rev. Wright's situation), and then chastising candidates for ever having associated with the person, and of crucifying a woman because she thinks she's capable of running the country and deserves to be in office as much as her male counterparts in the same election.
Notice I said "fight" and not debate. These issues are rarely debated. Even vigorous debate suggests decorum, a playing by the rules. Is that what we're seeing this election?
I've gotten to a point where I don't want read comments at political websites. Just retelling a news story seems to draw the worst from humankind more often than dialogue between humans seeking understanding. I won't go into how often the posts themselves fail at fairness, and I'm not picking on bloggers here.
Main Stream Media seems to live for blowing stories out of proportion and showing a willingness to fire up people in the most negative ways all for the sake of ratings. It bugs me because the news lately feels more like a sea of yellow journalism rather than real journalists ethically reporting real news. John F. Harris at Politico has a good piece on midget stories casting giant shadows and the race for higher ratings and more website hits.
The signature defect of modern political journalism is that it has shredded the ideal of proportionality.
Important stories, sometimes the product of months of serious
reporting, that in an earlier era would have captured the attention of
the entire political-media community and even redirected the course of
a presidential campaign, these days can disappear with barely a
Trivial stories — the kind that are tailor-made for forwarding to your
brother-in-law or college roommate with a wisecracking note at the top
— can dominate the campaign narrative for days. (Politico)
Consider how the Rev. Wright story went from smearing Wright to smearing Obama to smearing the so-called "black church." It's a story that won't die either. You've probably heard of this recent edition of the saga featuring Catholic priest Rev. Michael Pfleger ridiculing Hillary Clinton at Trinity United Church of Christ. Rev. Pfleger has since apologized, but that probably won't be enough. And even that story turned into being considered as a bad reflection on the "black church" at The Chicago Tribune's news blog on race. Today, Obama resigned from TUCC.
In addition, the horrible South Park skit in which terrorists secrete a bomb into Hillary, something I learned from reading Robin Morgan's Good-bye to All That Part 2 at the Women's Media Center. That website also has a video chronicaling the atrocious sexism tolerated in media coverage.
Through BlogHer I learned about the horrific racist and misogynistic imagery featuring Michelle Obama that was posted by a white, liberal Obama supporter. He hoped to make a point, but it was buried by the insanely insensitive graphic. Then, moving onto other craziness, we have a Rachael Ray ad being pulled by Dunkin Donuts because some conservatives thought the scarf she wore promoted Arab terrorism. Huh? While the Dunkin Donuts nonsense does not involve Hillary and Barack, it does reflect the political climate of this nation, I think, one propelled by fear.
Back to waking up in the morning.
Yet, we seem to be a nation longing for change and ready to embrace hope. Do we really want it? Are we ready to risk the status quo, our lazy sleep, and rise to the possibilities of a less rabid America?
I'm not writing in support of any particular candidate when I speak of hope and change. Ideally, if we want change enough and if this is a true democracy then we could push even McCain to go in a different direction. However, considering that the majority citizen opinion has been ignored for most of the last eight years, the idea of successfully pushing McCain toward positive change seems highly improbable. He appears to think life as we know it is just fine.
I'm trying to put the turmoil of this election year, the hate and divisiveness, into a better perspective and stuff it all into a template that will keep me happy about each day's beginning and America's future. After all, we are what we believe.
And if we are to be brave, we must take on the work of our beliefs and the pain that creates positive change. We must do this, I think, if we want to come through this election's madness stronger. But God it hurts! Anything worth having will do that sometimes.
Nordette Adams is a BlogHer Contributing Editor whose personal blog is at this link.