All of yous, shut up shuttin’ up!

By Don Rush

By a show of hands, how many of you out there in the readersphere are hoping for the next 45 days or so to be over more quickerer than slowerer? Politics these days suck!
And, I find this kinda’ depressing because I enjoy a good, thought-provoking exercise in civil discourse. Remember those things? Let me refresh your memories.

Me: “Hey, I believe this? What about you?”
You: “Really. I believe this and here’s why.”
Me: “Hmm? I see your point, but I am not convinced. We can agree to disagree.”

I long for those days of sunshine and unicorns — with the smells of lilacs in the air and the nice, easy hums of the honey bee. Hey, a boy can dream can’t he?
As far as the Presidential Election season of 2020 goes, the conversations, while maybe always one-sided, are now just loud and mean. So loud and mean, I have started to tune out on the political conversations (because they’re not conversations anymore — they’re shouting matches).
Maybe I have that hearing thing called Misophonia (the hatred of sound)? Maybe I have that condition called Ligyrophobia — the fear of loud noises? Or maybe, because I have three sisters and a ton of aunts, who, when all get together laugh, talk fast and loud all at the same time, I have learned the fine masculine art of “selective hearing?” (Yes, honey.  Yup. Sure, I’ll get right on that . . .)
For whatever reason, these days I find myself backing up and getting out of conversations. If there is too much noise and cackling going on, I will just shut up and nod my head. Inside I say to myself, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
I yearn for some adult conversations without name calling. I want my fast-dwindling intellect to be piqued and challenged with reason. Even though I want that stimulation, I do not want to be lectured. I know, who does?
With all the vitriol filling the airwaves and social media world, sometimes I wanna’ let my inner Archie Bunker break free from the shackles I’ve bound him and shout from the rooftop, “Everybody! Shut up, shuttin’ up!”
My very own sisters, oh, about 13 years ago, ganged up on me and shamed me into signing up for social media — they figured it would be the only way they could find out what was happening in my life. Since then, I have gained over 1,000 “friends” on Facebook. Some are folks I have known for years, some are family members, others are former teachers, acquaintances and still others are folks I may never have actually met in person. These friends come from all different backgrounds, religions, races and political bent —  the whole enchilada — the American platter of peoples.
I have enjoyed conversing with all these people. Sometimes jokingly, sometimes seriously and not all the time agreeing. Even when friends and I ended a discussion in disagreement I never felt mad, sad or abused. I like a good debate. I love being challenged. That is not today’s world.
Soooooo, for the first time in 13 years on social media, I have started to “silent” “friends” on Facebook. By that I mean, I have put some people under the “snooze for 30 days” button. You can say I am turning down the volume, changing the station and retreating. I am getting the heck out of Dodge and taking myself out of the political quagmire.
You can call me chicken or call me a coward. Yup, I concur. All this ongoing noise is affecting my ability to feel comfortable in these new social settings. I don’t want to be in a crowd such as parties, concerts or other events — anywhere where the ongoing sounds are ratcheted up to unbearable levels.
My fight-or-flight response has kicked in — and I am figuratively gonna’ pull the covers over my head until the Presidential election is over and done. If anyone wants to crawl under the covers with me, come on over. There’s plenty of room. We can talk politics, Detroit Lions football, the weather and share recipes.
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Here’s a quote I have been sitting on for a month or two. It’s by a podcaster named Bridget Phetasy.
“I will always support the right to protest, even in the midst of a pandemic, no matter who it is or what the cause. But the same people shaming everyone two weeks ago are now singing a completely different song and sorry–you don’t get to say “when we do it, it’s righteous.”
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Send your thoughts to The Cowardly Lion, formerly known as Don Rush to, dontrushdon@gmail.com.

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