12 Terrible Things I’d Rather Do Than Watch The Presidential Address

12 Terrible Things I’d Rather Do Than Watch The Presidential Address January 8, 2019

Your small act of resistance for today: turn off the t.v.

As we head into week 3 of the the government shutdown, Trump will address the nation tonight from the Oval Office. We know how this is going to go down. He’s going to talk about crisis at the border, and the urgency with which we need to address it. Of course, he will not address the crisis of children still separated from their parents–or the utter lack of urgency his administration has shown in reuniting families.

There will be strong racist implications about our nation being overrun with “bad people.” The pundits responding will not be able to address the racist subtext without being called “politically correct;” “liberal media;” “snowflakes.”

There will be fear-mongering and pandering. There will be an appalling lack of compassion or anything resembling nuance. There will be name-calling and finger-pointing, blaming the dysfunction of the government on everybody but the one in charge. Etc.

Which is to say, I don’t need to watch it. Not only could I do without the extra doses of rage and nausea today, I could write this damn thing myself. But even more than all that– I don’t want to add to the ratings. Let this be the least-watched “historic” speech of all time. Let him outright lie tomorrow about the massive number of people that watched his speech, “the biggest audience ever, seriously, JFK wishes he was me right now…” 

Turn off the tube. Don’t give him your ear. Or your attention. That remote is a powerful, powerful tool in your hand right now. In that spirit, I’ve been working up a list of things I’d rather do tonight than be anywhere near a television. It goes something like this:

  1. eat dinner at Arby’s
  2. shop at Costco the week before Christmas
  3. shop at Hobby Lobby. For craft supplies. And then do crafts. Involving glitter.
  4. go to a Justin Bieber concert
  5. chaperone a kindergarten field trip to Chuck E. Cheese
  6. math
  7. search for the match to every sock in my house
  8. juggle knives
  9. go for a glaucoma test (the root canal trope goes without saying. but for me, the eye doctor is a far greater horror than the dentist chair).
  10. do some yard work. In Arizona. In August.
  11. brave DisneyWorld with a toddler who has missed naptime. Also in August.
  12. tell a stranger that I’m a minister. At the beginning of a 4-hour plane ride.

I could go on. Bet you could too. But you know what’s THE BEST news ever? We don’t have to do any of these things tonight. We can just choose not to watch. It’s amazing. Empowering. Just ‘click’ and you’re free.

If you’re worried about staying informed– I hear you. What I usually do is read about it afterward. I read the redux, the highlights, and the responses–ideally, multiple responses from a variety of voices. It is possible to engage without stepping into the void entirely.

In the meantime, here’s what I probably AM going to do tonight instead: if I do turn on the tv, it will be to catch the new episode of Good Eats Reloaded on the Cooking Channel. Have I mentioned that my brother does the music for all things Alton Brown? Getting to hear him play over the credits is really just bonus, since it conveniently comes on at 9pm EST tonight…

I’ll also do laundry. I’ll clean up the dinner dishes. And maybe most important of all– I’m going to read with my kids. Raising a generation of People Who Read might be the greatest resistance of all to a world leader that quite literally never picks up a book.

Whatever you do tonight, do it in a spirit of love and light. And do it in great hope for some future day: when we don’t have to tune out the president to tune into our humanity.

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