Every time I pass a group of tweens I am filled with a deep sense of shame and sorrow. For all of my attempts to deny that I, myself, used to be eleven years old, emotional, awkward, and embarrassing in public, my memories always convict me in my conscience. I was there, after all.
In my calmer moments I realize that there's nothing intrinsically wrong with being eleven. Sure, I was a dweeb in the early nineties. There's no reason to feel particularly guilty at having acted my age, is there? When I got a little older, I put most drama behind me. I grew up.
For me, drama is any time we give more emotional importance to a situation than is helpful or warranted. Billy just broke up with you? Crying about it some or eating a whole pan of brownies is a commensurate response to the emotional pain. Claiming that the world is going to end because you were dumped, slitting your wrists, or drinking an entire fifth of vodka would be overly-dramatic. You can find another boyfriend, but only if you don’t die from alcohol poisoning.
For as much as I profoundly love having conversations with people about politics, the drama is reaching epic, almost middle-school proportions. I'd like us all to try this simple breathing exercise.
Breathe in slowly over the course of five seconds. Hold your breath for two full seconds. Breathe out over the course of five seconds. Repeat.
While you're doing that, please allow me to clarify a few basic facts about democratic government. For those of you who suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome (believing that Bush personally planned 9/11, that Cheney literally comes from Hell, or that Rove is an evil-genius), this applies equally to you. I will copy and paste this post next time the Republicans are in power.
1) We live in a democratic republic. We elect congresspeople, senators, and the president. These men and women ultimately make laws.
2) America has been like this for a long time. This system is not new.
3) There are always disagreements on almost every issue. Although you may think that you have the 100% absolute and indisputable truth about something, I guarantee that an equally intelligent, upstanding, and articulate American citizen fundamentally disagrees with you on that point.
4) That person has as much of a right to believe their opinion as you do yours.
5) That person is not horrible for disagreeing with you, nor does he or she deserve to be unfairly slandered.
6) You deserve that same protection when your party is back in power.
7) In case you didn't notice, about half the country was disappointed with your side being in power last time.
8) America, democracy, and apple pie didn’t come to an end when Bush made mistakes. It won’t now either.
9) This isn't your country any more than it is mine. It's ours. Equally. Any intimation otherwise is just offensive.
Now I understand that many people hate Obama's health care plan. I understand that almost all of us hate Congress. We're all justifiably worried that things aren't quite right with the world or with our government.
But for goodness sakes, get some perspective. This isn’t a nuclear holocaust. This isn't the end of democracy. Obama isn’t the anti-Christ. The sky isn't falling. You'll get another boyfriend.
Now go make yourself a plate of brownies.
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