Is No News Good News?

I

It’s been two weeks since Ruth Bader Ginsberg died. That day, September 18, was a turning point for me. I was so fond of RBG. She represented my moral compass. She represented everything I wanted our country to embrace.

I was crushed. Grieving. Near a state of panic.

I had to turn off the news after I heard of her death. I blocked notifications from the New York Times. I stayed away from all the bookmarked news sites I used to visit multiple times a day: AP News, the New York Times, CNN, Reuters, even Fox to see what propaganda the right wing was spewing. If I did go on Facebook to share one of my blog posts, I quickly scrolled past all the political ranting and advertising, both from the left and right.

I kept away from the news because I knew what was coming next with the Supreme Court. I knew how awful it would be for our nation. I’d already been making myself anxious and depressed over the news, and I had to take steps to prevent a complete downward spiral of my mental health. That’s how bad things had gotten for me.

Instead, I wrote postcards to swing-state voters. I re-read a favorite novel from long ago: A FAREWELL TO ARMS, Hemingway’s classic love story/war novel. I read EVENTIDE, by Kent Haruf, an author I’d heard about but had never gravitated toward. It was a fine novel.

I began reading a book about the protests in Birmingham, AL in the 1960s. I watched a 3-plus hour movie, MAGNOLIA, a film structured around various characters whose story arcs intersect each other (STASH, CLEAN BREAK).

Many times during these past two weeks I reached for my phone only to put it down again because I remembered I wasn’t reading the news. I wouldn’t say I began to feel better, but I felt less consumed, less overwhelmed by the state of our country and the world.

Still, the New York Times arrives every morning and I go outside and get the newspaper off the driveway and bring it in for Harriet, and she has been kind enough not to tell me all the terrible things going on.

But then came the first presidential debate. For some misguided reason, I believed it was my duty as a citizen to watch it. I lasted less than five minutes before turning off that dumpster fire.

And then early this morning I got a text from Julia telling me that our dear leader had COVID-19, along with his wife and several others. I don’t typically wish misfortune on anyone, but I have to say I was pleased to hear this. Maybe in some cosmic way, this is the event that can balance the loss of RBG.

Still, I’m not reading about it. I’m not staying up on the news. Only one piece of news matters anyway: what happens November 3.

By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

Novels

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