I am a self-proclaimed political news junky. My obsession starts the moment I wake up by watching the CBS Morning News. If for some reason I can’t watch it in the morning, I will watch it whenever I get time. I continue to feed my obsession morning, evening, and night day after day. My DVR is loaded with Morning Joe, Charlie Rose, Face the Nation, Fareed Zakaria, 60 Minutes, The Rachel Maddow Show, PBS NewsHour and so much more. In my home, the default channel on my television is CNN. Add to all my watching, I am addicted to the online political articles and Twitter-feed. If I don’t know the goings of the political world, I feel lost. I feel as though the world will move on without me.
All this changed on the night of November the eighth 2016. Instead of CNN’s live coverage of the elections, I watched something on Netflix to contain my anxiety. (For the life of me, I just can’t recall what I watched that day.) I had slept while watching Netflix, when I awoke, I immediately changed to CNN. I saw an image of Trump; the bottom ribbon announced the numbers. In that moment the axis of my being fell flat on the ground.
In the following days, I went through more than seven prerequisite stages of grief. It is not that Hillary lost, but it is as though ignorance won. I started looking at people around me. I wondered if they are the other half. For the first time, I analyzed the members of on my writing club which is predominantly white. I started reading imaginary racist connotations in everything and everyone around me.
I am pragmatic; I don’t view myself less in any sense. But I started listing what the Trump presidency means for me. According to his rhetoric, I am almost at the bottom of the totem pole. I am not white; I am an immigrant who came to study and decided to stay; I am from India—the disliked-land of call centers; I am a woman who would not let any man decide anything for me; I believe in free health care and free education. I feel hated. Hated by half of my adopted country.
Since that day I decided not to know of any political news until 2019. I am not interested in the postmortem. It is done. I don’t watch and read anything political. I didn’t and I still don’t have the heart to watch Hillary’s concession speech. But I did read and save her email message; I cried afterward. If I could, if not for my husband, I would block CNN, MSNBC etc. from my cable. Now the default channel on my television is PBS. As soon as I see anything political, I fast-forward or change channels or mute the volume or move to Netflix. The upside is, in the last few months I made a good progress on the documentaries in my Netflix list and the books on my Kindle.
I find it impossible to avoid everything political. Things always manage to filter in. My husband still follows everything political; most of the TV’s in the gym are either on sports channel or CNN; people around me insist on discussing their dismay and snigger about Trump’s latest Twitter rants. I am discovering that it is so very difficult to escape the political news.
One day, by sheer coincidence I came across President Obama’s farewell speech on PBS. I didn’t change the channel, instead, I watched it in its entirety. His words “For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles…” stuck with me. For a duration, I came out of my safe bubble to read only the headlines of political news articles. But that duration didn’t even last a day, as every decision from the Trump camp is so depressing.
It is demoralizing to know that a group of old white billionaire dudes is going to decide on things they have never experienced. They want to decide if public schools should have or not have art programs. As if these rich guys can appreciate art; for them, it is all about ownership. This bunch that believes that an aspirin between legs prevents pregnancy, has THE power to decide on women’s rights. They are behaving like Nazi-Germany by singling out Muslims. Everything they do and say is simply insane. And nothing can be done until the next elections.
I have managed to avoid all images and news of the inauguration day. But I followed the news about the 2017 Women’s March. I don’t know if all that is going to change the minds of the old white billionaire dudes. These are the men who deny climate change and lie by calling truth as ‘fake news.’ I don’t see an upside to knowing of the latest political goings. Part of me is scared that if I say something/ write something anti-current president, I will be singled out. I don’t have the courage to face that. From my point of view, everything will be insane for the next three years. Hence I am choosing to live in the bubble of DVR and Netflix for next three years.