On Outrage, Burnout And Hope

Political Burnout by Bucky Jones

Political Burnout by Bucky Jones

I was reminded this morning by a post by KC Gibbons about how outrage, although important, tends to muddy the message. She writes exquisitely about becoming part of the solution. The whole post is great but the ways she sums it up with common sense is worth the price of admission.

If you want to help states like Tennessee to be safer and more supportive places for marginalized communities…don’t just focus on our crazy State Legislature. Don’t get me wrong–it is great when Colbert and others shine a light on lunatics like Campfield. But please know 2 things; we are here trying to make it safer for people in real time. We need your voices, your money, your time–but more than that, we need your respect. Ask us what we need. We have a long list.

It reminded me of something I wrote about last year.

A pal of mine who really isn’t that into politics but kind of keeps one eye on it said the reason why she backed up from being a former political junkie was that the anger had gotten to the point that she felt the message was lost.

“I just had to make a decision,” she told me. “I can’t live my life being angry at this damned crap all the time. I just can’t. It was hurting me.”

I believe that she isn’t that much different than other folks quite frankly. Not everyone eats and breathes policy and the ever-changing tide where the message is lost in a fire-breathing lake filled with pretend dragons can be harrowing. She is paying attention, but she made an active choice not to swim in fire.

I don’t subscribe to that personally, but I respect her and I understand where she is coming from. We aren’t all the same.

People are remembered for the bold moves they make, not the safe routes they choose but not everyone is going to be that person who steps in front of a truck to make that bold move.

KC reminded me that, as Vibinc often does, that we need to look at the good things in this state as well as the crazy. It’s the crazy stuff and feeling marginalized that can bring on some serious political burnout. Policy is important, but a lot of times it goes unheard because there is so much to be angry about. Building roads and bridges and parks isn’t sexy enough right now for the mainstream media.  Media outlets right now get higher ratings for a cruise ship floating adrift than talking about that Congress just isn’t doing their jobs right now. Yet those roads/bridges/parks are extremely important.

Sometimes a bold move is just making a tangible ask on how to help others. Maybe one bold move is just to quietly listen.

And although anger is sometimes a motivator, it also can be paralyzing and can burn folks out like a dying sun. There is a lot of white noise out there right now and our society is only going to give you just a second to grab their attention.

When everyone is yelling, who can hear? As KC writes, no one wants to feel hopeless but sometimes they do when all they hear is outrage.

Image Credit to Bucky Jones