IT'S BEEN THAT KIND OF WEEK.
Perhaps you read this blog as a respite. Frankly, that is why I decided to write a weekly thingamajig: to lighten your load. Also to lighten my load and to let you know a little bit more about me, But some weeks make me wearier than others, and this one (so far) takes the cake. (Do I say that regularly? I have the feeling -- you don't have to tell me -- that I'm a broken record.)
We have a choice: be felled by the news of the day or the hour, or toughen up. I am not tough and I had no intention of turning this blog into a reflection on the politics of the moment. I am actually attempting to go light and not collapse under the weight of all that is happening in Washington.
It's Thursday afternoon around 4:40. I just read that just a few minutes ago, a man walked into the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland and started shooting.
It's not enough that the press is under siege by the easily-wounded president who decries anything critical of his administration as "fake news"; it isn't enough that print journalists are the most poorly remunerated of those who practice this craft. When the president declares the free press an "enemy of the people" [verbatim], the women and men who attempt to tell the truth about what is happening and why are endangered.
I'm not saying all reporters are honest and honorable, but I'd say most of them are. Every newspaper or magazine where I worked insisted on three sources for every who what where how when. My editors were always devils' advocates, forcing me to prove every allegation I ever wrote. (And I worked in features, not hard news.)
The Capital Gazette has a staff of 55 employees. Word is 5 of them are now dead because they made the mistake of choosing journalism.
This isn't politics I'm talking about. This is decency and common sense. This is understanding the will and needs of the majority of Americans and caring enough to try to provide for them.
Good people don't want to take revenge on history. Good people don't want to undo; they want to do. This isn't about which party is in power; it's about doing the right thing. Thoughtful people use words to make their points, not their guns.
We need a place to start.
We need to feel safe.
We need to see consequences for the wrongdoers.
We have to treat adults with the same rules and conventions we use when we teach our young children about right and wrong.
We must respectfully listen to one another. We must apologize if we have hurt someone's feelings, especially if we did so unconsciously or obliviously. We must choose our words carefully. If angered, we should count to 5 or 10 in order to cool down before we reply.
We should tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. We should remember our friends who are hurting or ill and visit them if we can, and if not we should call them, so they know they're not alone. We should eat our vegetables. Try to spend half an hour a day LESS on our digital devices. Unless we are waiting for urgent news or are a doctor on call, we ought to leave our phones alone during meals.