WAKE UP AMERICA
posted: Nov. 06, 2020.
Today is November 3, Election Day, but today is not like any election day I have ever experienced. Never before have I noticed our country more divided on politics, social injustice, equality, and patriotism. Several years ago, the movie “Colors” depicted the harsh reality of gangs in South Central L.A. viciously killing one another over the colors red and blue. I remember moving to California in the early 1990’s and being warned not to drive my red car into certain communities in the Los Angeles area. The thought that someone might shoot me because I drove my red car in a blue area was utterly absurd. Thirty years later, I am hearing similar conversations in checkout lines, casual conversations, and social media. There are individuals posting pictures with assault rifles anticipating he or she will have to defend themselves from certain groups that do not share his or her same beliefs or “color.” There are red groups that attack blue groups, black groups, young groups, old groups, militia groups, spiritual groups all with beliefs and values that have the answer to America’s problems. America has an identity issue and is attacking itself.
This year, 2020, “the year of vision,” as some infamously coined it, has been a year that has challenged that catch phrase. With the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, and the members aboard the helicopter at the beginning of the 2020, the emergence of Coronavirus, George Floyd murder, protesting and an election year, many may be suffering from a phenomenon called “Woke Fatigue.” Woke fatigue is a feeling one experiences when he or she becomes overwhelmed with information that implies that one is insufficiently woke to what is really taking place. There are groups such as leftists, conservatives, Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa, conspiracists, etc. bombarding social media with information geared to wake up individuals to rights, injustices, and hidden agendas of the powerful entities controlling society. The idea is that supposedly mainstream media is not informing the American people of the true ills of society. This theory has ruptured the dam for pessimism and is flooding the minds of many individuals leaving in its destructive path, Anxiety.
Anxiety is an unpleasant complex combination of emotions that include fear and worry that influence physical sensations such as trouble breathing, which can influence maladaptive behavior. Anxiety is created by stress, which has biological and psychological impacts such as feeling anxious and depressed. Anxiety feels more relevant today than the air we breathe. Anxiety is present in mainstream media, on bumper stickers, red caps, empty store shelves, social media, and motivates the intentional desire to wake you up to what really is happening. This theory has become a bit of a paradigm in that individuals have been pitted against one another and groups. Individuals witness maladaptive behavior and assimilate the behavior for fear of missing out or being left out of the group. Therefore, the anxiety perpetuates the desire to become informed or “woke” and participate without challenging the information and worst, sharing the information with others. Bottomline, fear and worry can create feelings of loss of control, which is only a perception one conceives when confronted with the event or threat. Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Director of L.A. County of Mental Health offers suggestions to combat woke fatigue:
Have empathy and tolerance for others
- Listen to different opinions to understand instead of trying to sway the beliefs of others
- Resist the urge to isolate from family that share different beliefs
- Good routines, adequate sleep, exercise, and proper diets
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol
- Avoiding your phone, social media and enticement to become woke to inaccurate information
Don’t believe everything you think!
- Recognize that we have different opinions
- Everything is not an existential threat if we disagree
- Engineer the need to work together through meaningful conversation
America is simply a jumbo jet that is in a nosedive but there are two joy sticks resembling two different opinions. Both joysticks need to be pulled together to fly America safely among the friendly skies.