Maybe it was the deluge of deeply nauseating election stories. Maybe it was the horrifying election results.
Maybe it was the staggering news of the tsunami devastation or the continued uptick of the number of U.S. dead in Iraq. Maybe it was Abu Ghraib or the brutal Fallujah carnage or the obvious and bitter stories of the foregone failure of the search for WMD.
Was it continued tales of America's staggering deficit? Our humiliatingly weakened dollar? Our nation's current miserable standing in the international community? Shots of Bush's motorcade cruising down Pennsylvania Avenue, heading for Nightmare Term II, as people booed and threw eggs and turned their backs in disgust?
Or maybe it was merely the standard postcoital tryst following the holiday consumerist orgy wherein you just want to bury your head in a pile of recycled Pottery Barn catalogs and wait for spring. You think?
Whatever the reason, news fatigue is rampant right now. Do you feel it? Have you succumbed? My media colleagues complain of it and regular readers lament it almost every day: people are, apparently and quite understandably, deathly sick of the media and sick of the news.
Sick of depressing headlines and sick of Bush and sick of war and sick, more than anything, of reading about the latest toxic government agenda, given how the overall situation, at least as far as the last four years are concerned, never seems to improve and never seems to lighten and never seems to lose its sheen of bleak and black anxiety. Can you relate?
Much to the GOP's delight, liberals and progressives across the land seem to be off their game right now, not reading as much and not following the media as closely and not really questioning the snide BushCo agenda that aggressively, barely able to tolerate even the slightest glimpse of Bush without a spiritual and physical gag, a karmic acid reflux, a sucker punch in the intellectual gut.
Especially true given how the man has almost single-handedly poisoned the spiritual pie and soiled the progressive pool and pretty much slammed a bloody cleaver down the middle of the nation, making the place livable only in the cities and educated college towns, the urban archipelago, places with funky bookstores and decent universities and food that isn't, by default, deep fried or reconstituted or slathered in liquid cheese.
And it doesn't help matters much that, in a new global poll of 22 nations, including many U.S. allies, the majority of people surveyed think Bush's re-election makes the world a far more dangerous place, and that many view Americans more negatively than ever. Not exactly the proudest time in history to be waving Old Glory, you know?
I know how it is. Even in a good month, following the media and keeping yourself truly informed is rarely easy and infrequently pleasurable and unless you're a fanatical media junkie absolutely never better than sex.
And this is quadruply true when all we're hammered by is nonstop wartime atrocity and Bush-policy abomination and the fact that it has now been almost exactly four years since the last shred of good news about environmental improvement, health-care reform, progress on women's rights or gay rights or cleaner air or a crackdown on the worst industrial polluters (instead of more tax breaks), outreach for the poor or more protection for national forests or a broadened sense of spiritual diversity or maybe a nice new treaty with a new ally that's designed to actually improve relations instead of degrade and isolate and destabilize.
Of course we're exhausted. Of course we don't want to hear it any more. It's a decidedly fatalistic feeling, after Bush snuck in to Term II, that there's little that can be done and we might as well just hunker down and wait for it all to be over because, after the valiant and heartbreaking battle of last November, much hope has been lost.
This, then, is the irony. Because now is the time when vigilance is needed more than ever, when an informed populace and an outraged resistance is mandatory lest the current regime simply steam roll over the nation for the next 1,460 days with a blindly aggressive agenda, one that aims to decimate Social Security and gut the economy and flood the courts with rabidly homophobic and anti-choice Bible-thumping judges who will almost guarantee we start treating gays as abominations and women as chattel and progressives as flammable godless heathens all over again.
And let's not forget, there's another vital election in less than two years that could very well reshape Congress and make Bush's final two years much more thorny and difficult, and that could very well help further highlight the fact that he will go down in history as one of the most destructive, least articulate, most divisive presidents in American history. Place your bets now.
So, then. It's OK to take a break. It's OK to, in the wake of the deeply nauseating Bush re-election, stay away, refocus, recharge, focus inward and focus locally and focus on living your own life with the kind of temerity and resolve that you normally prescribe to rabid evangelicals from Kentucky. Never think you have all the answers. But just know that you know how to ask the right kind of questions.
Which is to say, it's all about validation. Of truth. Of your truth. Of what you know to be true of progressive kaleidoscopic open-thighed human consciousness, and how radically and beautifully that belief differs from the small-minded black/white pseudo-Christian BushCo truth.
And in fact, I would argue that this kind of regular, daily validation is mandatory right now, that as far as Bush goes, living well -- living your beliefs to their utmost and allowing them full, raw manifestation, sacred or profane, luminous or pointed, naked or slathered over in karmic whipped cream -- is the best revenge, is by far the best thing you can do to counter the seemingly interminable BushCo onslaught.
So go ahead, skip the dour headlines. Forget to read the newspaper for a while. Refocus your intent and screw the sneering BushCo pomp and ignore the conservative flying monkeys who've stormed the castle and have announced there will be no good or progressive or healthy or spiritually radiant news for the next four years.
Know that this is not you. Know that you do not have to kowtow and you do not have to succumb and you do not have to bury your head and merely endure. Know that you have this one humble and luminous choice, always and always and every single day: no matter if it's dark energy or light, low vibration or high, raw intimate self-defined sensual divinity or dumbed-down numbed-out force-fed conservative sanctimony, you can either trust that truth and follow your own hot moral compass, or allow it to be stained and warped and doused in fear and led wide, wide astray. It's not about them. It's about you. Make your choice now. Grip it like a baseball bat.
Then, the good news. No longer will you have to ask how to survive. No longer will you ask how you can possibly endure the next four miserable, homophobic, warmongering, Earth-bashing years without daily weeping and clenching and rending of karmic flesh.
That truth of yours won't just set you free; it will lay you open and feed the universe and allow you to laugh at the mad circus of it all, ultimately morphing that sad resigned news-fatigue nausea back into outrage and ire and healthy intellectual fire. And you will, by default and almost automatically, get your fine ass back in the game.
© 2005 San Francisco Chronicle