Julie Seedorf: Trying tuning out; it might leave you tuned in

Published 9:16 am Monday, February 27, 2017

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.

This past week I had a conversation with a friend where we agreed to disagree. Of course, the conversation was about politics. Do we talk about anything else these days? The headlines either seem to be about our new president or some Hollywood star and what they are wearing or in some cases, not wearing.

The thought came to me that we should turn off the news for a short time. Our anxiety might be less, and it might give us some well needed perspective.

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Let’s focus on the topics that aren’t taking up the news anymore such as homelessness, rampant drug use and teen and young people suicides. They are all getting lost in the Trump Twitter wars and misdirecting us from important work. We maybe can’t change what is happening with our opinions clashing, and no one listening to each other’s point of view except to counter it, so we need to get back to caring for the people by our actions. 

We need to bring back to the forefront of the news working on things we can do something about, such as helping food shelves, working with the backpack programs in schools, helping the homeless find housing and skills, packing for Feed The Starving Children, programs for intervention for youths so the suicide rate goes down, intervention for depression and mental health and drugs, caring for the elderly and more, and teaching kids how to have respect for others. We need to also focus on caring for this beautiful earth that is God’s creation.

Take your eyes off the news and look around at your neighbor and what you see happening in your city. Rural is different than city. What are the needs of your area? It’s not helping us stressing out and battling each other over the headlines. Stand up for what you believe, step in to change what you can and watch your words because the person we alienate with them might be the person who needs our help — or we may need theirs some day. Put the headlines back on the issues such as these. We will get through this divide together, but we need to not get lost in the rhetoric and bring our focus back to what is needed, right here, right now, in our communities and with our neighbors.

I leave you with a quote from President John F. Kennedy and his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961. He was our 35th president, and he was also a first — the first Catholic to hold the office of president. It has been a long time since I heard his inauguration speech, but I would encourage all to look it up and read the words of hope for this country. Hope we all need to hold on to today. These are words about service to this country in all forms as citizens of a free country.

John F. Kennedy professed his vision for our country with his speech and this memorable quote.

“And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

We can do something about homelessness, hunger, suicide rates, drug use and depression and loneliness. It starts with us, one by one. It needs us to put these problems and solutions back in the headlines. It needs us to look into the face of someone who needs our help no matter what walk of life, what race or what religion. Tune out and then tune in to life.