It was the best of e-mails, it was the worst of e-mails

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Enterprise columnist

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This politics-free life? Sweet. I\’m diggin\’ it. Oh, I\’ve been tempted by this or that little turdbit, but just like when I see junk food at the market, I tell myself, “No, that\’s not good for me. Let\’s go to the produce section.” And I wheel my little cart over to where there\’s less poison to be found. It becomes amazingly easy in no time.

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All in all — feeling less stressed, more focused on things that matter and (this is the really amazing part) I\’ve had exactly the same effect on the burning political issues of our time that I did when I\’d rant and rave, and wring my hands and then wring venom from my keyboard: Nothing.

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Check that. I can watch “Countdown” all week or reruns of “The Office” all week and have the same results. Better yet, I can do neither and practice yoga in my living room free from the smug sideways glances of those who can touch their foreheads to their knees, and actually reap a measurable benefit, however minute. Even a tiny positive is greater than zero. Following this little path logically, I\’ll make more progress solving the nation\’s woes by fine-tuning my Downward Dog than I will by going rabid over politics and getting foam all over my monitor.

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Cool.

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So, a week or so into this, here\’s benefit No. 1: I\’m sleeping better. Politics is like pizza: best not to stuff yourself with it right before bedtime or you\’ll be awakened with nasty acid reflux, and whether the acid is pulsing from your stomach or your subconscious, it burns whatever it touches.

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Following last week\’s column, in which I announced my virgin attempt to “Step One: Admit my powerlessness over national politics,” I got an e-mail that made my spirit sing. Twice. First off, it was from a Bob D., and any time I see “Bob D.” in my inbox, everything else that happens that day is a bonus. This time however, it wasn\’t from the Guy on Mostly A2 but Sometimes C1, it was from another Bob D. from Davis who was kind enough to read my column and then take the time to write to me. Here\’s an excerpt:

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“I follow your column in The Davis Enterprise and was glad to read that someone other than me has resolved to expend less energy engaged in political dialogue. I made my new year resolution last month to disconnect from the news programs that argue to no end. I was made aware that my energy level drops considerably when I watch news programs or engage family or workmates in who\’s right and who\’s wrong…

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“Like you, I will always follow current events and I will always vote, but 2011 will be the beginning of my \’selfish\’ year when I take much better care of my energetic self. I have resolved to be a positive influence rather than another loud mouthed opinion shouter.”

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I nearly did a back-flip on the spot. Bob D. from Davis, you totally got it. Totally, thoroughly, completely understood exactly what I wrote! Yes, yes and yessss! Sweet Mother of God, communication is not dead yet! My spirit is as a just-hatched robin — nothing but fluff and sweetness and pure potential, trembling with desire to take wing! I think I may weep! Yeeesssss!

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At least one person got my message: It\’s not about whether politics is right or wrong, or Red vs. Blue, it\’s about what kind of person you become when you\’re absorbed in it. And, moreover, what kind of person you want to be. It\’s about taking your piece off the game board.

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Bob D. from Davis, I could hang up my keyboard now. My work here is done.

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And then, only a day or so later, comes the sad, tired juxtaposition, because in this line of work, there is always the sad, tired juxtaposition.

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The spiritual counterpoint comes from a repeat offender named Vic, who vomits into my inbox from time to time. As Express editor, I\’m required to clean up his mess and then publish it as a letter on our Opinion page. Vic\’s letters inspired me to drop the “Dear Editor” openings on our letters page, because it seemed really silly to publish things like “Dear Editor, You are a stupid, ignorant slut, and I wish you would drop dead. Twice. Signed, Loyal Reader.”

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In this space, however, I\’m not the editor. I\’m the columnist. And I ain\’t editing his stinkin\’ letter, because, frankly, I don\’t have to. Here it is, in all its glory, and it is with serendipitous glee that I note that “sic” rhymes with “Vic”:

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“I can fully understand Mrs. DeAngelo swearing off national politics, after all if according to her the most brilliant individual she has ever known (Pres Obama) can\’t carry the day, whats the point. Sounds just like my children when they couldn\’t have it their own way, they did not want to play. But alas I am please after all we have one less liberal, listening to possibly the nastiest personality on Television Keith Obermann. Sanity has a way of winning out, even when things look the bleakest. So, all you conservatives say thank you to Debra, after all paraphrasing Dirty Harry, she has made our day.”

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I present both e-mails because they illustrate just what I was writing about: If you spend all your energy treading water in a cesspool of negativity, you know what you turn into? Something else that rhymes with Vic.

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— Follow Debra DeAngelo on Twitter. Links are posted at and http://www.edebra.com and http://www.wintersexpress.com. Find Debra\’s columns online at http://www.wintersexpress.com, http://www.edebra.com and http://www.ipinion.me

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