—Viktor Frankl (Celebrated Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor)
For someone who is pro immigration, pro gay rights, pro EVERYONE’S rights, no matter race, religion, sex or lifestyle, a believer in climate change science and a believer that NO-ONE has supremacy over anyone else, this is a difficult time. The news actually makes me sick every morning, and I find my anxiety level rising as quickly as the temperature keeps falling. Several days ago, however, my friend Val posted something that reminded me of that quote by Viktor Frankl, and I realized that I need to stop letting politics take hold of my life.
I know this is easier said than done. The media’s relentless need to capture the audience at any price means that they play to the prurient interests of their readers/viewers. Even if we have no interest in witnessing another’s suffering, traffic slows to a crawl when an accident occurs in the opposite direction. People are so busy “rubber-necking” that each major collision is followed up by several small bumper thumpers. Descriptions about various forms of torture and deaths seem to sell newspapers, and newspapers are in business to make money.
Just today I read about three unrelated children dying from the flu. The flu, in fact, seems to have overtaken ISIS as our number 1 enemy. I am not sure why I need to know about the poor mother who died in Texas from flu complications or the young boy in “who remembers where” who died two days after being diagnosed with the flu. Each headline adds to my anxiety, even if I never read the article. They tell us to get our flu shots and then admit that the shot is only 10-30% effective. They tell us to steer clear of pharmacies and grocery stores because they are hotbeds of flu virus, yet warn us to make sure we take our vitamins, eat well balanced meals, keep hydrated and manage our stress levels. Where do they expect me to get these vitamins, full meals and Gatorade if not the local pharmacies and food markets? How do I keep my stress level down while they are filling it faster than a helium balloon?
This morning I learned even more about our nuclear threat clock. Are they kidding me! They are making me watch the hands of a clock crawl closer to my demise while telling me to control my stress level. They have a name for it...according to Wikipedia, “The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe.” This clock is manned by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who determined midnight on this clock is the time when a man-made catastrophe will end life as we know it today. By the way, after the little “mistake” in Hawaii, the clock moved thirty seconds closer. The scientists have determined that it is now two minutes to midnight.
I don’t need to know any of the above...not the tortuous life of thirteen children kept chained to their beds...not the number of people who die each day from influenza, and certainly not how many seconds until our nuclear proliferation. I need to know what I can do to stop the madness. I need to know which politicians are choosing their pocketbooks above their country. I need to know what I can do to make a difference. I need to vote. I need to convince you to vote!
Most importantly, I need to calm down and remember that we have gone through these times before, and we have survived. People have died from various epidemics, but we have found better ways to overcome illnesses because of them. We have hidden under desks during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and that taught us to respect each other and to respect the weapons that should never have been produced. We have had Presidents who have seemed inept and yet our country survived.
If I can remember all of that and choose to believe in a country that has always landed on its feet, than my rose colored glasses can remain intact. I must believe that my fellow Americans, be they Republican or Democrat, will wake up on Election Day and do the right thing. They will restore the balance that our forefathers wanted, just like they restored it in 2010. Yes Viktor Frankl, I will choose my own attitude and choose my own way, and then...just maybe...I will sleep through the night without any anxiety driven insomnia.
A big thanks goes out to one of my favorite authors, David Rosenfelt, for the few long nights that I spent with the characters from his latest book, Fade to Black. New Jersey State Police Officer Doug Brock is back on the force after recovering (mostly) from a gunshot wound in Rosenfelt’s last “stand-alone” novel. Brock is hampered by amnesia that wiped out memories of the past ten years, but that doesn’t stand in the way of his crime solving. The wrong man may be in jail for murder, and Brock is the one who put him there. He is bound and determined to find the truth, and he refuses to let any bad guys, the FBI or his posse of friends stand in his way. Make sure that this book is on the top of your March list of books to read. You won’t be sorry.
As always, a complete review of this book follows my blog.