TNB Night Owl: It’s Not Goodbye But So Long…

This is a difficult post for me to write.

Our politics in this country has become toxic. This isn’t news to any of you, but for someone like me, the toxic nature of it has become increasingly overwhelming, to the point I simply can’t do a good job for all of you and this site. This isn’t an issue that’s cropped up recently; I’ve been trying to figure out a way to share this with Tiff and you since before Thanksgiving. I don’t know if Tiff sensed my struggles or not, but her suggestion of the Christmas OCD Jukebox kept me going through December. Then I got sick and that gave me more opportunity to recover mentally (I hoped). But I just can’t get up the energy–mentally or physically–to face listening to clips of feigned outrage over idiotic, unimportant matters, like woke candies or updated mascots or ZOMG! chocolate milk must be defended! (Those same people can’t defend books, though…)

I’m tired of the culture wars sapping our energy (or at least mine) and distracting us from the very real threats to our liberties. Currently, if you’re not white and male, well, you’re under attack. Your right to vote, your bodily autonomy, your right to be your own authentic self… it’s all at risk.

I’m tired of politicians and pundits who (if we want to put it charitably) misrepresent the facts in service to the narrative they want to tell, and it’s all determined by their tribalism and hatred of the other side.

As an example: the Chinese spy balloon. The right spent days demanding President Biden shoot it down! If you don’t, we will. So he shoots it down once it’s cleared our air space, and ZOMG! It’s the worst breach of national seurity EVER! And then another object appeared and the administration didn’t hesitate to take action. So the usual suspects screamed, ZOMG! Biden’s just shooting things down without even knowing what it is!

I don’t know about you, but the whiplash from their about-face was life threatening. (Okay, that’s hyperbole, but only slightly.)

The media can call them on this bunk; we can do so as well on social media. But the facts go in one ear, fail to engage with any gray matter, and go out the other. And now they have crazy, unqualified people sitting on the House Oversight Committee–people who refused to certify the election and even went so far as to support the insurrectionsists, making excuses for them and calling them “political prisoners.”

I’m tired of them advancing the same tired talking points, like “thoughts and prayers” after every shooting. You’d think some elected republican would stand up and demand we do something more than that, but these are people who are literally wearing AR-15 pins in place of their usual flag pin (while the democrats wear crayon pins commemorating all the school kids who’ve died in mass shootings).

Our country will never heal as long as at least one faction’s positions are decided by whim and being against whatever the other side is for. There can be no bipartisanship when republicans leave their own hearing every time it’s a democrat’s turn to question the witnesses (and show what a sham these hearings are). There can be no harmony when the privileged whine about what victims they are all while they’re continuing to victimize others.

It’s hard to believe that we’re nearly a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, yet we’re having to re-fight battles which were won decades ago. Public health and vaccines, civil rights, abortion rights, voting rights, even the right to read material some deem “inappropriate,” it’s all on the chopping block.

And living in a very, very red state, as I do, I may feel the pressure of these losses more than some of you who live in blue areas.

I’ve lived in Tennessee for most of my life, having moved here with my family when I was a kid. I love this place; the countryside is breathtaking, the people are friendly, salt of the earth folks. And the state has made strides over the past half century of honoring and respecting blacks, gays, and women. But our legislature is currently hard at work to ensure all of that is wiped out.

There’s a lot of hard work ahead of us to fight back against this tyranny, and I’m just too weary for it right now.

Demosthenes replied to me on Twitter yesterday, saying he hadn’t seen me on TNB recently and What’s up? And, to be honest, the question laid heavily on me. It’s nothing any of you have done; it’s me. I need a break away from TNB and Twitter. I’ll still comment occasionally, but I need to rebuild my mental health to prepare for the fight ahead.

So I’m asking one of you to please take my place. There are many of you who are talented and far smarter than I who could easily take on this responsibility.

As I said in the title, this isn’t goodbye. I’ll be back at some point; I just can’t say when. ‘Til then, take care of yourselves and each other. Love you all!

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