I am writing this as I struggle with a bout of depression. Struggle… because while it had me 100% this morning, it’s down to maybe 50%. I did some self-care things. So self-care is on my mind, and, unavoidably, I’m also thinking about the dark turns the course of American history has taken.
Between the horrors of theft of immigrant children, theft of the Supreme Court and other horrific happenings which could all be seen as modes of theft, really, we are all hurting enough that pessimism vs. optimism has now become a topic of conversation here. I got in a fight the other day by asking a diarist not to be so discouraging. Yesterday I saw another diarist get yelled at for doomsaying, and a front page writer criticized for same. At least one good self-care diary has hit the rec list as have several step-up-type stories.
It’s an important topic, because to maintain integrity and effectiveness, we have to be realistic about what is happening even when it’s really bad. And the urge to vent our despairing feelings and be supported is always there. At the same time, we have to maintain our functionality to remove the political cancer currently afflicting the USA and the world. We are now in (non-violent) fight mode, called upon to rise above our regular selves in action. The fate of democracy literally does turn on the attitude of each person in this fight. This is why the right tries so hard to demoralize us. My personal feeling is that if we don’t give up, we will win. If we do give up, it is not my personal feeling but fact that we will lose.
I would like to respectfully offer a suggestion/challenge to everyone writing stories or diaries on despair-inducing topics, that I think strikes the balance. It’s actually similar to the Daily Kos campaign technique. It recognizes that the best cure for despair is getting into action.
It goes like this:
1) Write just the way you are inclined. Accurately report the bad thing that has happened, state the horrid implications, put your feelings into the writing. (Your feelings, after all, arise from your basic decency.)
2) But! ...At the end of the piece, spell out something that readers can do to alleviate the situation—whether it’s to sign a petition, call Congresscritters, donate to a organization, join a march… whatever might help, directly or indirectly—and provide a link, enabling the reader to take action right then and there.
If you feel like nothing can be done, do it anyway—because you could be wrong. It ain’t over till it’s over.
If you can’t think of what to do, think and don’t post until you come up with something. The winning attitude is: there is always something, I just haven’t thought of it yet.
If you feel it would be intellectually dishonest to link to an action that won’t make any difference, do it anyway; it’s actually intellectually dishonest to be certain that you are right that it won’t. You cannot know… no one can. Because it hinges on the thoughts of each person, and those can change instantly.
Miracles have happened. They’re happening right now, as Americans of decency take up the good fight. Many more will happen. By doing this you are helping make them happen.
If you want to play really big: come up with three action links.
If we all do this, I assert, the morale of the entire Daily Kos community will improve.
Think I can’t possibly know this? That would be fair and scientific, and, scientifically-speaking, only by an experiment can we test it. So let’s do the experiment!
I hereby make the commitment that I will do this myself with my diaries on negative events (and I don’t mean my personal donation ask, lol… I’ll link to something specific to the issue.)
I’m a SPWM (single parent with mortgage) who earns every dollar I earn by writing… now on a shiny new computer, THANK YOU! If you’d like to help keep it economically feasible for me to write on DKos, please consider sending a donation my way. Suggested amount $3. Thanks to all who have done so already. Your generosity humbles me. Especially those who’ve been particularly generous (you know who you are).