I’ve developed a mental/emotional sore spot, it seems, around the US government. Or most governments these days, including but not limited to California, Pennsylvania, the UK, Brazil, Hungary, uh I dunno anywhere that fascism or nimbyism is gaining. The way the sore spot works is that, if anyone mentions anything about it, I become a black hole of depression. Everything they say is either stupid or obviously correct and despair-inducing. I feel worse, and I bet they feel worse, and then I feel worse for making them feel worse. It’s not great.
Behind this are a few obvious feelings:
- worry/fear that our world is going to become a really awful place to live
- anger at all the people who are so bad
but I think also less obvious feelings:
- responsibility, like “I’ve got to do something”
- fear that I’ll become the target of scorn from Angry Internet People if I’m not angry enough (“if you aren’t depressed what the fuck is wrong with you” - someone on twitter)
- worse: fear that I’ll lose respect from real-world friends if I’m not angry enough
Meanwhile, another huge terrible problem is world hunger. Hundreds of millions of people are still in extreme poverty or chronically hungry or food-insecure. And yet, it doesn’t consume my life, and I don’t turn into a monster whenever anyone mentions hunger. Maybe I should do a similar thing for the government.
(possible counterargument: “but you can do something about the government.” sort of. I still vote and stuff, but I have so far been pretty bad when I’ve tried getting involved with anything beyond that. Like, both ineffective and hating it. I remain open to the possibility, but not optimistic, that there’s a way I could be useful.)
I guess this is just the ongoing job of continuing to care without being angry. Maybe I’m still, after all these years, erring on the side of “being too angry.” And maybe I’d unlock a little more energy in my life, which could be used to do something about something, if I didn’t spend a lot of it on being so angry.
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