This is from the fourth edition of the Near-Earth Object newsletter, to which you can and should subscribe, right here.
For me, today was Election Day. I got my ballot in the mail, I filled it out (it’s a ranked choice ballot, which is GREAT, but there’s nothing worth ranking this year; there are no “second choices”), drove over to the local ballot drop box, and SAVED DEMOCRACY.
I was as excited as a little kid getting a new toy when my ballot arrived, and I tried to make a big, fun deal out of filling it out, but no one else in the house seemed to be on the same wavelength. (“Don’t you usually get to vote?” asked my son, as if that very fact weren’t something worth celebrating.)
WHATEVER. I don’t get excited about almost anything anymore (why would I?), so if something sparks enthusiasm in me andit’s part of the effort to save the world, you better believe I’m going to get goofy. Election Day — or Election Month or Election Season — is a momentous occasion, no matter what the buzzkills I live with think. WOO, VOTING!
I have no idea what’s going on in my state. Last year, I started a subscription to the Portland Press Herald (digital with print on Sundays) because I wanted to be better informed about the place I live, not just in terms of its government and politics, but to learn more about the lives and cultures of the people of Maine, a state I’ve now lived in for almost a decade.
I read a lot of it the first couple of weeks. Then I just read from the print Sunday edition. Then I just did the included New York Times crossword. And then I more or less forgot about it.
National news — more specifically, national political news — is all-consuming to me, but it covers that which is many times removed from me. It doesn’t affect me from day to day, nor do I have the capacity to do anything about what I learn. It would make much more sense for me to be more engaged with the goings-on of my state and municipality, which does directly affect my life, and especially the lives of my kids. It’s not nearly as soap-operatic as the titanic struggles over the soul of the nation happening in the presidential election, but it’s just as meaningful. Maybe more so?
So as we careen toward what I hope to Zod is the reasonable conclusion of this election, maybe it’s time to start refocusing on what’s going on closer to home. Regardless of what happens November 3, I know I can’t have any meaningful influence on what goes on in Washington.
But Augusta? Maybe.
In my own town? Surely.
Something to think about.
The most powerful man in the world gets COVID-19 (because of course he did), and after being given the best care available to anyone in the world, he declares that getting the disease and then recovering makes him feel 20 years better.
Meanwhile, I have to sit in my car in order to watch my daughter’s soccer practice, in which the kids play maskless. None of it makes sense. And that’s what the second episode of my podcast-vlog-monologue thing tries to capture. You can watch it here or listen to it here.