Today is Election Day in Alaska and I love politics. Love it. I have always been a political junkie. I was the weird kid who, at the age of seven, begged to be allowed to stay up and watch presidential election results. Don’t ask me why I was rooting for John Anderson, but my penchant for iconoclasm revealed itself early. I still take the day off after major elections so I can stay up all night watching the results. Partly, I love the game of it all, but I learned to love the way it can affect and improve people lives, and create history in front of us. Through disillusionment and the switching of teams, I have been passionate about it my whole life.
Even so, sometimes I have to take a break and pull back. I have never been successful at getting myself to not pay attention, but sometimes I have to not care so much. I know that the triumph of evil happens when good people do nothing. I know that apathy helps nothing, but I also wonder about the effect of caring on myself. I pull back when I start to feel like I am spending too much time in anger and despair: Anger at the other side and despair at my own. Regardless of what some might tell you, it is a tough time to be a liberal when even winning elections doesn’t guarantee results. As much as I love Rachel Maddow, I find that I am less happy when I watch her five days a week. I spend more time being upset about things I cannot control. Two or three times per week and I feel informed, but there is a point where it is too much.
So the question is, how to I protect my own mental and spiritual health and still stay well enough enformed to try to make a difference? No, I am not saying I get all my news from Rachel Maddow, but I do find her to be well informed, thoughtful, intelligent, and refreshingly civil. She is also a kick-ass role model for my girls.
As an aside, my most evangelical, Bible-thumping, small government, anti-tax, pro-war, Sarah Palin & Dr. Laura loving, social conservative colleague and I are actually voting the same way on a ballot proposition. I do not believe this has ever happened before in the almost eight years we have worked together. It is like a tiny Election Day miracle.