Some news from around the world in the last day or so:
• President Trump hosted a gathering of racists and conspiracy-mongers at the White House today so they can complain that they don’t get enough respect on social media.
• It is reported that thousands of undocumented immigrants are being targeted in raids planned for this weekend.
• My old home state of Pennsylvania is cutting off cash assistance to the needy.
• My always-home state of Kansas is watching as the attorney general threatens to sue the governor to let some adults receive food assistance even if they haven’t met the program’s work requirements.
• War with Iran seems a bit more inevitable every day.
It feel like my values are losing on every front in public life in favor of a war on truth, refugees and the poor. I feel despair. I imagine some of our readers are similarly discouraged.
I know I just wrote last week that Christians should have hope beyond the here and now, but you know what? It’s hard. Sometimes we need a little comfort.
I have a couple of ideas about how to combat the despair. But I would love to hear more.
On my list:
• Walk away from the news once in awhile. That’s tough for a lot of us to do, especially if — like me — you work in news and news-adjacent businesses. But it’s not impossible. It’s good to take a day a week to unplug, especially from Twitter, and direct your energies to other things.
• Think global, act local: I’m increasingly convinced that any salvation we’re able to create from current circumstances will come in large part from working together in our communities for our values and against the forces that alarm us so. I have recently been doing some volunteer work for the first time in my life. It’s not enough. But it’s also a way of doing something positive, and it never fails to make me feel a bit more positive. It also helps to simply embrace real-world, non-online relationships.
• Embrace what’s beautiful: I grew up in a generation that was cynical about beauty. That’s unfortunate. Find what inspires you — music, dance, the outdoors, art — and make sure some of your time is spent focusing on it. I’m not sure about the whole “beauty is truth, and truth, beauty” business, but I’m not sure it’s entirely wrong, either.
• Make stuff. Don’t just consume. Even if you learn a new recipe to share with your family at dinner, that’s something.
I’m not always good at doing these things. I linger far too long in front of my computer. But when I take my own advice, my life is a little better. And that gives me the strength to fight for the values that I believe in.