by Judy Dean
I’m skipping the final presidential debate tonight: I dropped out after the first. This election cycle has taken such an emotional and physical toll on me that I’ve withdrawn from media (harder than it sounds) until November 8. After I vote I’ll be ready, I hope, to tune back in.
Today I stumbled upon this bit I started in July. A tough summer has turned into an even harder fall. If you feel beat up by current events you are not alone.
THE SADDEST MONTH
Over the several weeks we’ve experienced a storm surge of bad news. Some of the more distressing stories include:
• June 12, Orlando: A deranged man walked into a gay nightclub and massacred 49 people, 53 others were wounded. Biggest hate crime in US history.
• June 23: The UK voted to leave the European Union, sending shock waves around the globe.
• July 5 and July 6: Two African-American men from Baton Rouge and St. Paul were shot by police, triggering violent protests in both cities.
• July 7, Dallas: Five police officers were killed and nine were wounded when a lone gunman opened fire on a peaceful protest in support of “Black Lives Matter.” This was the deadliest incident for law enforcement since 9/11.
• July 14, Nice, France: A crazy man in a giant truck mowed down 84 innocent civilians and injured more than 300 others during a Bastille Day celebration.
• July 15, Turkey: A coup to overthrow the government is thwarted but the country remains in turmoil. My niece is currently living and working in Istanbul but was thankfully at home in the US the week of the coup.
• Syria makes me weep: unimaginable human suffering.
As if that’s not enough, the backdrop to all this has been the presidential race. Trump’s hateful speech sickens me and fills me with dread. I don’t fully understand what’s happening but it seems to me that fear is at the heart of it and that all this bad news somehow fuels his popularity.
I remember the post-9/11 news as being nearly unbearable: tragedy on tragedy. Recent news is different but strangely similar. Stories come from every direction and the violence seems utterly unpredictable. Crazy men with guns dominate most of it. Fear of ISIS is real even if the actual physical threat (at least from where I sit) seems pretty abstract at the moment. May it continue to be so.
It’s the middle of summer but the mood is dark. I’m personally experiencing “grief fatigue” as events pile on top of each other. What terrible thing will we hear about tomorrow? Like many others, I feel anxious and helpless, especially when it comes to Trump and random violence. Tonight, I find myself longing for some healing summer rain and a bit of relief from these hot and uncertain times.