Hearing the news of the escalating hostilities between our country and Iran last night was alarming, to say the least. Being on the brink of war, especially with a president we cannot trust, is quite terrifying. But somehow, in the midst of this terrible situation, I’ve found a place of calm, and in case it may help you, I’d like to share my thoughts.
I’ve been in this place before. I remember vividly when the U.S. went to war with Iraq. It was the biggest news I’d ever heard and my college friends and I were GLUED to the TV for days, wanting to know every development, eager for new information, comparing what one anchor said versus another, etc. Classes were still happening, but most of us had real trouble concentrating on our studies. The news was all-consuming.
It wasn’t healthy.
We weren’t eating well, we weren’t getting outside or getting any exercise, we couldn’t focus on anything else, and even though we were all in the same room watching the TV, we were barely interacting with each other. What did we gain? Nothing.
I didn’t know then, as I know now, that the only antidote to worry is taking action. Back then, none of us thought to call our Senators or Representatives. None of us sought out like-minded people and organized a protest. None of us started a letter writing campaign. We just sat there, letting the bad news fill our souls and infect our well-being.
In contrast, last night I heard the news about the missile attacks and felt great alarm. But my response wasn’t, “I need to go find a TV,” but instead, “What action can I take?” When I got home from work, I reached out to some friends who also put out calls-to-action and asked what they were hearing. I jumped onto a national call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And with that, I find myself feeling far more in control of what otherwise could feel like a hopeless situation.
So if I may, here are a few suggestions for you:
🔹 Take action to help de-escalate the situation with Iran: 1) Call your members of Congress. You can find a script HERE. 2) MoveOn, along with other organizations, is planning a Day of Action set for Thursday. You can find more information about how to be involved HERE. 3) You can also jump on a strategy call with MoveOn, the National Iranian American Council, About Face, Indivisible, and Win Without War where you’ll learn more about what you can do to prevent a war. The call is set for today (Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 8pm EST.) You can register HERE.
🔹 Reach out to friends and family who have loved ones serving in the military. Support them as this is especially tough on them.
🔹 On social media, be extremely watchful for disinformation and misinformation. Twitter was flooded with it last night. Remember, there are bad actors who WANT to escalate the situation and whipping people up into a frenzy with false yet sensational headlines and posts is their specialty. Verify information before sharing it.
🔹 Watch your stress levels. From time to time, reread this list of ways to avoid political burnout and do something on the list.
🔹 Remind yourself what you wanted to focus on in 2020. What are those political goals you have for yourself? Taking a cue from the readers who filled out my survey this past week, I know most of you are wanting to focus your energy on getting Trump out of office. That means winning elections and improving voting rights. Keep an eye on the news, but focus most of your energy on your priority issues.
Living in the Trump era isn’t easy. Every day seems to bring a new horror. But there are ways to stay sane, stay focused, and achieve the goals we’ve set out to accomplish in 2020. Let’s do this.