I don’t watch award shows. I find the whole self-congratulatory process on top of wealth and celebrity status a tad nauseating. The State of the Union is not much different and this year, like anything Trump touches, it will be way worse. The problem with this weed of a president is that everyone keeps giving it light. Weeds like the light. They flourish and take over all the good soil, choking out anything that is newsworthy and meaningful. This year, I’m taking my light elsewhere.
Despite the fact that I’m a political junkie, I hate reality TV and the denizens that occupy it. Since our government and media have turned into The Real World: Washington D.C. Edition, I’ve learned to cultivate my news sources. Pundits and conspiracy theorists scrawl on whiteboards with bizarre connections and fallacies every time this president opens his mouth. Even respected journalists have lost their ever-loving minds reporting on every fart he emits. This is where information is not empowering. It’s enervating. It leaves us all just a little besmirched and exhausted.
The State of the Union sounds important, but it’s not. Especially when the windbag that is speaking is always talking. This guy can’t shut up. We’ve heard all his stories. We’ve heard his memes and talking points. We’ve seen his beady little eyes and flappy jowls a zillion times in the last two years. He’s a bore. He’s a bore that has, to his delight, sucked all of the air out of the room. At this point in a social event, I would have acted like I needed a smoke, gone outside, gotten in my car, and driven away with the lights off, so I wouldn’t be noticed.
Here are some things you can do with your time instead, that will be more meaningful, powerful, and useful:
- Donate to a “sh*thole” country, where real, live human beings like us are struggling to raise their families, find work, raise crops, get an education, and fight disease. Last week, the 12-year-old girl I was sponsoring in Malawi, died of malaria, an entirely preventable disease. I wrote a condolence letter to her family that will likely mean little. What means more, is that I’m sponsoring more children. Save the Children is an outstanding organization, as is Doctors without Borders.
- Here’s an easy one – read a book about immigrants and refugees, about the kind of people who come to our shores and what they experience. Here are a few:
The Devil’s Highway by Luis Albert Urrea
The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience by Mark Bixler
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu
- Eat a delicious, healthy meal and get some exercise. If there’s anything I want to do more, it’s to outlive all these old bastards and watch every stupid, destructive thing they ever did be repaired.
- Read a science article. In the face of lies, false reporting, random Facebook opinions, television pundits, knowledge is power. Great sources for good science:
The American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Join a voting rights organization like League of Women Voters, The Brennan Center for Justice, Rock the Vote, NAACP, and Voto Latino. Voting rights are the bedrock of our representative democracy and the best defense against authoritarianism.
These are the more serious suggestions, but the fact of the matter is, I’d rather do anything else but listen to this blathering mudslinger. The crimes against syntax and semantics aside, I know that whatever he says will be untrue. Who has the time for that?