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Comment: Left-leaning senior seeks balance in unbalanced times

By Stephen J. Lyons / Chicago Tribune

Within the Orwellian universe through which we now marinate, that uncomfortable actuality through which rumors seamlessly rework into details, and disinformation invades our bloodstream like a mutant virus, I ponder what the correct stability is whereas cowering below the mattress and sporting a helmet, face masks and noise-cancelling headphones.

These final 18 months of America held spellbound below the eternal stench of the Jan. 6, 2021, coup try and Donald Trump’s persevering with odorous reign of dysfunction have been troublesome to handle emotionally, even with a day by day dose of 100 milligrams of Zoloft (up from 50 milligrams a yr in the past), an occasional chaser of Xanax and an uptick in low cost chardonnay.

The countless tweets, the 24/7 information circus with its numerous cable TV “specialists,” the GOP and its ringleader Tucker Carlson, have infiltrated each nook of my actual and digital worlds.

So what’s my obligation as a left-leaning 66-year-old with hypertension (150/90, thanks for not asking) who was raised to be politically concerned and duly outraged at any signal of social injustice?

With my remaining years rapidly sliding into amnesia, did I actually need to look at Trump’s current speech on the Conservative Political Motion Convention? Did I have to waste time stalking Lauren Boebert’s newest Twitter babble? Did I’ve to seek out out that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is holding a “Second of Fact Summit” later this month through which the 2020 voting machines would be the defendants in a “trial of the machines”?

“The one method this doesn’t work — I’ve all of the items — is that if the individuals don’t watch it,” Lindell boasted. Who did he reveal this little bit of breaking information to? Why none aside from the nice rumpled one, Steve Bannon. Am I the one one with IBS, Irritable Bannon Syndrome?

I used to be raised below that false American rubric that “one individual could make a distinction.” By utilizing our infectious Yankee optimism, we are able to change the course of historical past, cease the tanks in Tiananmen Sq. (How did that work out?), give peace an opportunity (Miss you, John) and cease U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from pretending that sporting floral drapes is cutting-edge style.

I’ve all the time thought that maxim ought to learn, “One extremely distinctive individual with the best connections and lovely hair could make a distinction.”

I’ll be brutally sincere: I’m not that extremely distinctive. I don’t like confrontations with individuals who disagree with me. It’s type of icky. I’ve very nice hair, some would name it flaxen, however I lack any connection that might even let me reduce forward within the “20 gadgets or much less” line at Wal-Mart.

I vote frequently. I sometimes flip up at a protest — primarily for the smug selfies — after which reward myself with a type of $5 Starbucks drinks. I signal on-line petitions; write unanswered letters to Congress; and retweet, “like” and insult on-line, however do I’ve the identical energy to impact change in the USA as say, Child Rock, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin or a TikTok influencer?

To my liberal comrades, I might warning, simply since you are upset, dutifully learn New York Occasions or Washington Submit editorials and drink natural fair-trade French roast doesn’t imply you’re a higher individual than those that, as a substitute, don’t wish to pour all that anxiousness into their quick lives and would moderately drink beer on the patio, binge-watch “Emily in Paris” or pet a cat.

Again to the query of stability. Currently, I’ve been taking the lengthy view. Trump’s tenure, as excruciatingly weird, damaging and nonetheless inspiring to a 3rd of People, was however a brief belch in historical past’s digestive tract, a digestive tract, by the best way, in want of a powerful colon cleanser. In spite of everything, what’s 4 years within the grand scheme of issues? If I make it to the age of 80 (no assure, observe blood strain numbers), 4 years can be solely 5 % of my life. And by the point I’m 80, I most likely is not going to keep in mind the earlier 20 years or the final quarter-hour.

I inform myself that, look, I’m nonetheless standing after 12 years within the custody of the Chicago Public Faculties system, Ronald Reagan’s dementia, Invoice Clinton’s impeachment, George W. Bush’s blunders, the final 30 years of Bears soccer, a bunch of wars that completed, properly, nothing and a New Youngsters on the Block live performance (don’t ask).

So I feel I’ll go for detachment by merely sitting out, for instance, the Trump-Marjorie Taylor Greene 2024 presidential ticket and our subsequent army foray into fill-in-the-blank (Professional tip: Las Vegas favors Taiwan) and the much-anticipated return of a youthful and apparently transformed conservative Republican, the one and solely John Kennedy Jr.

Heck, what’s the worst potential factor that may occur to me? Please don’t reply that. I’m having a good day. Now, the place’s my helmet?

Stephen J. Lyons is the creator of 5 books of essays and journalism. His forthcoming e book, “Trying to find A Manner Residence: Misadventures with Misanthropes and Household,” can be printed subsequent summer season by Ending Line Press.


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