I haven’t watched the news in over a month. The only shows on in our house lately have been Super Monsters, Bubble Guppies, and CoComelon. In that order. On repeat. (all my toddler parents out there, you know).
Our abandonment of the news wasn’t a conscious decision; it just happened. Because of Daylight Saving Time, our morning routine got thrown off, and well, the news didn’t make the cut.
And you know what? I feel GREAT.
Refreshed in a way that I haven’t felt in forever. No more daily doses of the latest political soap opera. No more bringing up said soap opera with my coworkers and friends, trying to gauge their responses. No more casting judgment.
There’s just love! Pure, undiluted cartoon monsters and mermaid LOVE!
It reminds me of the chorus from the John Prine song, “Spanish Pipedream”:
“Blow up your TV, throw away your paper, go to the country, build you a home.
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, try and find Jesus, on your own.”
(Ignore the “throw away your paper” part. I’d like you to keep reading the paper, especially The Courier. By the way, what do you think about the Dem-Gaz no longer delivering daily papers? Shoot me a line at elicranor.com and maybe I’ll use it in next week’s column.)
In short, the Cranor family has been living the “Spanish Pipedream.” We don’t watch much TV, we don’t follow the news, and Lord knows we eat our fair share of peaches!
So, yeah, this off-the-reservation lifestyle has been nice, but is it responsible?
Are we being dependable citizens by remaining ignorant to the political climate? The local news? Heck, even the weather?
Especially not in a democracy, where, you know, the people are supposed to rule. And in order to rule, the people need to be able to formulate their own opinions about what’s right and what’s wrong — they need to stay informed.
So if a family, like mine, stops watching the news, are we being bad citizens?
That was the question my wife and I asked around the breakfast table earlier this week. We’d already paid our taxes, we voted multiple times in 2018, and we regularly help out with local volunteer work — but were we somehow in the wrong for disregarding the news?
I don’t think so. Not with the news in its current state. Not when you can flip between channels and get different versions of the truth. What’s worse — you can PICK the version of truth you’d rather hear. What kind of truth is that?
Not one that’s worth your time, your energy, your passion. It’s definitely not worth losing friends or stirring up quarrels amongst family members.
So what should you do?
Take the time you’d regularly spend watching the news and do these things instead:
Seek goodness in the people around you. Be the change you want to see in the world. Be kind to your neighbor. Say hello to the lonely (another great Prine song, “Hello In There”). Help feed the poor.
John Prine was on to something back in 1971 when he released “Spanish Pipedream.” Little did he know, his fantastical song would one day be a rallying cry for the modern-day American “Dream.”
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