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Tony Grist

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The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life [May. 1st, 2008|09:50 am]
Tony Grist

I made a resolution yesterday: I'm going to stop taking a day to day, close-up interest in politics. What good has it ever done me or anybody else? It's a bad habit and merely stirs up negativity.

As it happens I dreamed about Gordon Brown last night. He was presiding over a school dance. I guess my subconscious had clocked a resemblance between him and "Ted" Maidment- popular history teacher of my youth- and  was using it to seal the pact. Discipline at school dances was pretty strict- no snogging, no hanky-panky- but Ted was permissive and looked the other way when I sloped off to the curtained cubicle with my partner. Good bloke. In the dream I felt about Gordon the way I felt about Ted. 

And now I'm off to vote against him in the local elections.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2008-05-01 12:53 pm (UTC)
I made a resolution yesterday: I'm going to stop taking a day to day, close-up interest in politics. What good has it ever done me or anybody else? It's a bad habit and merely stirs up negativity.


Yeah, I've long held that position. I only give the news a cursory glance (and absolutely not right before bed!) so I have a general sense of what's going on, but I realised years ago that following the details of world events and politics only causes me anger and anxiety. The overwhelming majority of it is stuff that I can't do anything about and that hardly has any influence on my life anyway, so I have no need of it in my awareness.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-01 01:21 pm (UTC)
The only way I can influence political events- and even then not really, because I've always lived in "safe" seats where only one party had a chance- is by voting. Otherwise, why worry?
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2008-05-01 01:00 pm (UTC)
I applaud the decision; I made the same myself many years ago. Every so often, I slip and get caught up in it again, but I inevitably start feeling miserable, realize why, and get back out of it again.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-01 01:24 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Political news is almost always dispiriting. I rage inwardly about corruption and incompetence and the only person I'm hurting is myself.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2008-05-01 03:09 pm (UTC)
New full stop tends to be dispiriting.

A few years ago I stopped listening to the news and current affairs (even worse, all that pointless speculation!) on the car radio. I now treat it like alcohol: only partake sparingly and never alone. :)

It did help a while ago when it dawned on me that all headlines are written with the intention of making the reader think, "How awful!" I've been able to take them more calmly since that revelation.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-01 03:51 pm (UTC)
Some media are worse than others. There are certain newspapers that set out not merely to make us feel bad but actively to stir up prejudice and anger.
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From: sculptruth
2008-05-01 03:32 pm (UTC)
I'm slowly learning. I'm still a slave to NPR and online news, but overall I'm not as deeply entrenched in information as I used to be. Moving from New York to Seattle helped; this place makes you realise there are more important things in life. Even if I am a slow learner. :)

And now you have all this wonderful new material to read! :D
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-01 03:55 pm (UTC)
Britain's a small country and the media are the same wherever you go, so there's no escape from the "big" stories of the day.

I had the TV news on at lunchtime, but I haven't looked at a newspaper today- even though the current big story- the local elections- is one that would have had me slathering the day before yesterday.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2008-05-01 06:46 pm (UTC)
I came to that same conclusion. We are like monkeys in treetops listening to our neightbours gibbering about possible predators, we all love bad news, we enjoy depressing ourselves with scandals and horrors. It isn't going to help us and it isn't life affirming. It just makes us feel impotent. I read the Economist, I listen to the Today programme for about half an hour, but only because my DH likes it to be on our alarm clock, then I let it go.

Nobody wants to be ill informed but oh, the worry of incessant politicking.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-01 08:13 pm (UTC)
There's a balance to be struck between being reasonably well informed and a hopeless news junkie. I think it'll take some adjustment before I get it right. The first step was to ditch the Guardian as my home page. I haven't read a newspaper today, though I have watched the TV news.
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From: algabal
2008-05-02 05:05 am (UTC)
I have made this resolution many times. I just don't think it works. One needs a total change in values, emphasizing personal compassion over collective frustration, in order for it to work.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-03 07:42 pm (UTC)
I see it as being like any other addiction- only easier to break because there's no physical hook. I've spent three days now without turning to the "Comments" page of my favourite newspapers and I'm managing fine.
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[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2008-05-03 05:14 pm (UTC)
My partner does that. She gets SO worked up about the election. Then she tells me, in great detail, who said what to who. To me, I have already voted in our primary, and I have decided who I am going to vote for come November. I don't have to think about it any more. And, she & I agree. She doesn't need to convince me. I keep telling her, she has an LJ account. She should blog this stuff and convince others. She is preaching to the choir, here.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-03 07:39 pm (UTC)
I've done OK so far. This has been an exciting time in British politics- what with the local elections and the election for London mayor- and I've registered the news in passing but kept away from the columnists. So one set of politicians has replaced another set of politicians- big deal!
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[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2008-05-03 08:15 pm (UTC)
I know this is important, and I have my personal favorite, but, frankly, it WILL be one of the three that are running, and ANY of them are going to be WORLDS better than Bush/Cheney. Even the worse of the lot is going to seem like heaven.

Kind of like when we think it is warm when it is 35 degrees here, because it is above freezing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-05-04 09:00 am (UTC)
Exactly. The main thing is that Bush/Cheyney will be bowing out.
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[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2008-05-04 02:59 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to be rid of them.
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