Eight days before the election and my inbox is overflowing with hysteria. “We’re heartbroken,” “It’s Over” “Have you forgotten us?” “Horrible news” “It’s do or die” “We need you, Lucy, now more than ever,” (that’s the one that might get me, if I weren’t so sick of it all.) I’ve left off the exclamation points but there are way too many. It reminds me of the fairy tale of Chicken Little who is hit on the head by an acorn and thinks the sky is falling. He, or she, runs to tell the King collecting many other feathered friends along the way until there is a flapping, cackling chorus of “The sky is falling” (add exclamation points). Of course, a fox offers to show them the way and that’s the end of that.
By now I am deleting these emails as fast as they come in, which only seems to encourage them. I resent the unsolicited barrage because I am being hounded to give money, but that’s not all. It’s the desperation, the urgency, the panic, the frantic cries and tearing out the hair — all these emotions that I already have plenty of, given the state of the world.
I don’t deny that the sky may actually be falling, but the hysteria is driving me crazy. I understand that we need to be alert and do what we can, but we need to leave time to relax, breath, and think about the next step. I’m reminded of a project I’m working on and an insight about myself that I think applies to a lot of us White mainstream Americans. As soon as a problem is identified, a dilemma revealed we want to fix it, asap, do whatever we can to put the sky back where it belongs. We send money, make phone calls, feed a family, anything as long as we’re fixing it. The sooner we fix it, the sooner we can forget about it and move on to the next thing. This is great if a house is on fire, a child is crying, a dog is lost, the rent is due, and a million other things. But there are things that require time and patience, things that shouldn’t get a band aid slapped on and forgotten.