Why People Disengage

I learned something.

I am the child of a news junkie with a five-paper-a-day habit. I have always craved information about the world around me -- the good and the bad -- and valued keeping informed. I can't say I've valued
what the mainstream media believes I need information about -- endless loops of footage on the latest tragedy or celebrity gossip -- but I've known that there are sources to find out what I need to know. I need to know what the new developments are in my community. I need to know how the world is changing -- socially, politically, economically, culturally, and environmentally. I need to know what my state government and federal government are up to. I need to know how special interests get their way and what their objectives are. I need to know what's coming down the pike educationally that could help or hinder children's learning.

There is so much to know, very little of it available through headline-only, if-it-bleeds-it-leads television news half hours. So I read news sources online, in print, and occasionally watched televised news from PBS or BBC.

I have many friends who abhor the news. They find it depressing and overwhelming. I'm beginning to get that now. You see, in the past couple of months, I received a diagnosis that has forced me to focus inward. I resigned my treasurer position for a favorite Congressional candidate's campaign. I resigned my leadership position with our local Indivisible group. I stopped making calls to Salem and Washington, DC. Instead, I asked others to pick up my slack and some have done so. I also quit my various volunteer and non-profit responsibilities and again, others stepped up.

For me, there had always been a partnership between being informed and being an activist, however minor my contributions. So long as knowing about the state of my community, state, country and world could be translated into political action, it wasn't depressing. It was empowering.

Yet now I find that without the energy to fight back, it is depressing. I look away. I don't want to read the news. I don't want to see the faces of politicians I abhor. I don't want to be exposed to violence. I don't want to know every ugly thing. I get it now. My friends who hated the news? I think maybe they hated feeling impotent, as I now do.

There's a flip side of that though. And you know what I'm about to say. 

I can't anymore, but you can don your political gloves and punch back. Politics and the world should not depress nor suppress you. They should inspire you. 

Get active. Make calls. Share your insights. Be a part.


  1. I so needed this. I lost a couple of political battles and became disheartened. I got frustrated with people who joined FB political groups then sat back and lurked and did nothing. So thank you for reminding me that im the one who needs to do this for myself. Be well.

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  3. I am so tired of being angry. I pick up a magazine or newspaper, watch the news, or sign on to Facebook or overhear conversations in public spaces and get angry. I'm not an angry person. I've avoided conflict all of my life, but here I am, faced with the destruction of our environment, public education, the separation of church and state, voting rights, civil rights, women's rights, Social Security, healthcare (A.C.A., Medicare, Medicaid), democracy, and the promotion of bigotry in infinite forms, and I'm angry. I'm not just angry for what this is doing to me, I'm angry for what it is doing to you, our neighbors, our children and our grandchildren. I find twisted versions of Christianity being held up as Patriotism. I see violence committed in the name of this same Christianity as well as Islam. I see innocence being destroyed. I see programs that help the less fortunate being destroyed by the richest among us ,in the name of patriotism. I see bigotry flying in the face of humanity. We are supposed to be the most caring nation in the world, and we can't see your way to care for each other no matter our ethnicity, culture or sexual orientation. I keep remembering the poem about first they came for the jews, then the gypsies, then the catholics and then they came for me and there was no one left to care. I CARE! I CARE! It hurts, and that makes me angry. All it takes is for everyone who cares to stand up and shout I CARE! Every day in as many ways as you can show as many people as possible that you care. I need to know someone cares about me, and so does everyone else!


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