From the publisher … Compartmentalized minds

by Joe Courter

This information age we live in presents major challenges in coping. How do we sort through all the options available? 

Humans have never faced such an overwhelming array of stimuli and endless paths to follow. Unfortunately, since peace and tranquility are less attention grabbing, a lot offered is negative and disturbing. 

Doom scrolling is a real thing for many, and it is not healthy. Strategic and critical thinking is, to say the least, undervalued. And in a country that by design counts on an informed, participating citizenry (well, okay, in the beginning they really didn’t want everybody … some still don’t), it has created a very serious problem of people trapped in silos.

There has been in the last few years an increasing amount of rightfully disturbing phenomena. Covid was a real shake up as to how we live. The reaction to dealing with Covid exposed a propaganda-driven, anti-science groupthink, closely linked to the metastasizing of MAGA mentality, for which we have not found a cure. (And if these Jan. 6 hearings don’t have an effect, we are in deep doo-doo.) But leaving all that aside, there is just so damn much that is not making sense!

Ukraine is becoming more and more repulsive to me. Both sides, the whole thing, is so wrong, needless and devastating. I now see it as a war of choice, choosing war over negotiating and diplomacy. All the resources expended, the destruction and disruption of millions of lives, and the now emerging world food shortages; all in a proxy war destroying Ukraine to what end? It’s madness.

And now the end of Roe; the taking away of rights that were gained, as most rights are, through struggle. Cold and callously ideological, this is so so wrong: the fear of mandatory motherhood will affect every sexually active person who can become pregnant. The door to going backwards has swung open, what else will we let them (yes, let them) undo? Gay marriage? LGBTQ rights? Decriminalized weed? Birth control? Union organizing?

Oh, and let’s ignore climate change, our pathetic health care system, massive entrenched poverty, and the unmistakable drift to a form of religion-based authoritarianism. Let’s erase the disturbing parts of our history so young minds are kept patriotically pure. Things are pretty fucked up on so many levels these days.

But you know what? Stuff all that into manageable mental compartments. Find a way to put a lid on your anger and frustration, and find things in your life that matter. 

Number one is take better care of yourself. You are needed for the long haul. By all means keep paying attention, but learn how to stuff it into boxes. Number two is that this next election will require all the organizing we can do to get a good turnout at the polls and start trying to get moving in a better direction. We need organized people and groups with an attitude and structures that will last beyond the election. This will let us open those boxes and compartments and act with more power than just our individual selves. Go find The Low Road by Marge Piercy and give it a read.

P.S. Re the Jan. 6 hearings: We have seen a string of truth-telling, rational, and admirable Republicans testify as witnesses, Cheney and Kinzinger, too. They are very unlike the mean-spirited Republican blowhards we usually see. The hearings present a glimmer of hope that we could work together, although perhaps the fundamental divide of “pro business-make money” vs. “pro people-share the wealth” is too systemically entrenched. But I think of Rodney King: “Can’t we all get along?”

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