As we look to DC this weekend, it would be good to breathe in and out a few times. And in doing so, pull a bit of the anxiety out of the civic breath. It’s a good time to appreciate the likelihood that the expected storm of angry violence will pass unremarkably like many winter storms do. There are, of course, entire media channels whose livelihood depends on keeping us anxious about storms of various kinds. Let them whip up somebody else. The couple thousand aged-out men (and occasional fading women) with fantasies of overthrowing our government will dissipate now that the US Army has shown up. Let them go back to wherever they came from. Let them chatter among themselves, all couple thousand of them.
The violent ones are tiny fraction of the 74,221,744 (the total voting minus two thousand) who supported our sitting President. Some are mad, some afraid, a large fraction confused, and probably half already gone back to worrying about the kids and dog next door. The 81,283,485 who voted more like me also scatter across the spectrum of elation, but all have also mostly gone back to worrying about the kids and dogs next door. Image both spectrums as one, and I’m pretty sure that the largest glump in middle have anxieties and hopes with very little to do with anything near any capitol. This is good. Democracy doesn’t work well by exaggerating the emotional implications of every twist and turn. There’s a reason bureaucrats are boring; government work is supposed to be boring, clunking along without the rest of us worrying about it.
From time to time, though, it’s not boring. Whatever you think about the election, everyone should pause to lament those dead from a tiny virus that has killed more we lost to the Third Reich. Almost everyone knows a family that has lost a member; I sure do. Focus there. And then focus on getting everyone vaccinated and the deeply bruised institutions back on their feet: the churches, schools and restaurants.
Don’t give any breathe to anyone who wants to talk about anything else, especially if it makes you angry at somebody who has not actually hurt you. If you hear that coming, walk away and find someone ready for actual human words. Don’t argue, instruct, or magnify; for God’s sake, don’t retweet or reply all.
Now is the time for grown-ups, bringing non-anxiety and non-judgement. Counsellors get paid a good hourly wage to do that, but if you’re old enough to read a blog, you’re probably capable of giving away some non-anxiety for free. That’s much more valuable than your reprocessed opinion.
It’s possible that tens of thousands of armed goobers will swarm our streets like killer bees. But probably not. I’m confident the US Army and cops can sort that out. The rest of us should figure out how to share our tiny blue planet with people who do not vote like we think they should.
Pause. Quiet. Listen.
Do it again.
Notice that days have more light. If you look closely, you’ll notice the early buds are getting ready for Spring.