Riding the roller coaster of network news is exhausting. Since November of 2016, many of my evenings consisted of fixing dinner then watching MSNBC. Chris, Chris, Rachel, Lawrence and, when awake, Brian. One night in January I hopped off the ride. I ate my dinner, sat down in front of the television, but my hand refused to go near the remote. I didn’t want to hear a word, a clap. I didn’t want to see more standing up and sitting down than a Catholic Mass. I refused to watch Pence and Ryan raise stiff arms when “Heil to the Chief” played. Oh, did I spell that wrong? Oh well. I didn’t want to hear what I was sure would be the misrepresentation of accomplishments – the same reason I don’t watch the press conferences, except the ones on Saturday Night Live. So, I played soothing music instead, Women Writing for a Change kind of music, and I breathed deeply.
Damn notifications! I didn’t think about turning them off of my phone or my computer. The New York Times, keeping me in the loop, CNN letting me know they were streaming live. I don’t give a flying…well you know what flies.
One thing I am certain of is that I have to stop letting him take up residence in my brain. I need to do something rather than get tearful every time I think about the environment, the parks, the dreamers, the poor…our rights. I wonder how I will look in a red cape? No, I forgot, it will be green for me – not my favorite color.
I want to sit in front of the TV, at work, like we did in 1973, when we watched John Dean testify and do his part to take down a president. Nixon’s crimes stand in the shadow of the crimes of the current resident of 1600. But most of all, I want to turn on the TV and see what I saw on August 9, 1974, a disgraced President boarding a helicopter. Will he wave, or will he flip us off? I want to see his followers, in lock-step, boarding the copter behind him. Heil to the Chief.
It is May now – no helicopter yet. I cancelled my cable last month. I had to look in the mirror and realize that I was doing the same thing I freely criticized others for doing. The only difference – the network I was watching. I admit, the first night, the withdrawal was intense. I do find that I am happier with my head in the sand just a little. I still get CNN notifications and subscribe to the Times and the Post. I didn’t cancel my passion about the state of our union. I know there are many working very hard to get someone to do what John Dean had the courage to do. Who will it be? Who will stand up? It needs to be soon.
Sherri “Martha” Walker for the Poplar Grove Muse