As FlapJilly eats flapjacks, sitting between her Daddy and her Gramma at the table, I have time to contemplate Little Cuter's morning rant.
My little girl turned on the car radio and was appalled to find MSNBC emanating from her speakers. Her NO! accompanied a quick flick of the wrist and a turning of the dial to the music of her teenage years. Yes, she reminded me, Usher was at the Christmas concert with Pink and Boyz 2 Men, the one where my last minute ticket was closer to the stage than the seats she and her girlfriend had purchased months before. Yes, that was a rude outcome to my offer to drive the kids to the San Jose Arena but that's not the point. Wouldn't I rather listen to music than be upset by Morning Joe?
Her father and I are obsessed with the news, it seems. The talking heads repeat the same nonsense, over and over and over again, leading to angst and fury, and we listen to it constantly. Why would we want to live in that space? She is aware of what's going on but she's not consumed by it.... at least to the extent that her parents seem to be.
I think it's generational. She's used to getting her information in snippets. I grew up with long form news.
I think it's the difference in our life spaces. She's got FlapJilly and work and other imperatives on her mental loop. I have nothing that demands my immediate attention.
I think it's how our days unfold. She's surrounded by people who talk to her. I spend most of my time alone. Her weeks are defined and restricted by her work schedule; I just had to ask SIR if today is Wednesday.
I find the constant barrage of information to be fodder for my civic engagement. How can I write an original postcard and an original email and make a different phone call every day if I don't have the news to prompt me? My girl is as involved as her busy life allows; I use The Resistance to fill the empty spaces in my day. She barely has time to breathe; I live a life of leisure.
It might also have something to do with how we spent the formative years of our lives. Her first exposure to politics was asking her Daddy to explain knee pad jokes about the President and an intern. She moved on to watching the towers come down. Neither of those situations were amenable to any changes she could effect. I grew up with JFK exhorting me to do something for my country, moving on to protesting a war that was taking my friends to a muddy, messy death.
I felt emboldened, required to take action. She watched events transpire without feeling that same sense of power. We closed colleges and deposed a President. She watched the Supreme Court decide an election against the votes of the people. There's no action to take when the Supreme's have spoken.
She does what she can when she can. She works with the League of Women Voters and supports Mayor Pete. She's invested in the outcome. She's aware and she's involved but she's not obsessed.