“It’s Morning Again in America”. I’m old enough to remember that phrase, from a storied TV commercial from Ronald Reagan’s 1984 presidential campaign. It was such a hopeful statement. Morning’s represent new. The dawn of a new day.
I’ve never been a morning person, figuratively, or literally. My mornings for the last few years (i.e., the smartphone years) have typically started with me rolling to my side and looking at my phone. I used to start by looking to see what important emails came in overnight. I didn’t have to check sports scores for my favorite teams, because even though I am rarely in the same time zones they were playing in, I’d find a way to stay up until all hours to watch whatever Giants, Warriors or Sharks game was on. Somehow those 10:30 PM Eastern time games were watchable, year-round. So, I’d start with email and get on with the day.
Things have changed in both simple & profound ways.
First, there is now a step between rolling over and grabbing my phone – the step where I blindly try to find my glasses, without which the rest of the process would be irrelevant. At least I still use “normal” phone font size.
Second, I just can’t stay up until 1:30 AM Eastern every morning anymore. I am lucky to make it to halftime of a Warrior’s game on most nights. The Sharks have become nearly unwatchable for me for the first time since the team’s inception in 1991, both because I can’t stay awake and because the current team frankly puts me to sleep. Last season, the Giants were so hard to watch I moved them out of my “must see” list entirely. But I am not a fair-weather fan, I still follow them all closely. I simply just can’t stay up anymore. I trace the beginnings of this to when I first moved east, in 2004. Suddenly, after a lifetime of Monday Night Football being something you rushed home from work for (and hoped to not miss the first quarter of), the games started at 8:30 PM, and I struggled to stay awake beyond halftime. I guess It’s called getting old. “Hey!, you kids: get off my lawn!”
Going back to mornings, the more profound change has been what I do look at my phone for. I can honestly say that since November 2016, the first thing I look for is to see what stupid thing has happened in our country since I went to sleep, a mere 7 or 8 hours earlier. And seemingly every damn day there is something. I look and I worry.
I never worried like that before. Mornings now feel like a constant state of fatigue. Not the fatigue of being tired (as I was for so many years after waiting out the result of a 7-round shootout, after a scoreless overtime, in a tied 1-1 meaningless December NHL game). No, this is the mental (and I fear physical) fatigue of the daily grind of living at a time where I feel like an outsider in my own country, at least from the perspective of values. The great promise of Reagan’s statement is so far displaced from the current direction of our “leadership”. It’s as if everything is turned upside down. I know I am not alone in that thinking.
Maybe I was lucky to have had it easy before? Or maybe life has become more complicated? I don’t think so. I do think we have put people in power whose value systems are in violent conflict with my own. And that is stressing my system, leading to my fatigue.
Progress used to be a good thing, but now every action we undertake is an effort to go backward:
- Let’s try to reinvigorate industries that time & progress have made obsolete.
- Let’s go back to a less accessible Internet
- Let’s go back to a world where the needs of big companies are more important than the environment we live in and the earth we will leave behind for our children and grandchildren.
- Let’s go back to a world where women are objects, and where racism and intolerance is normalized.
It’s the “Again” part of Make America Great Again that I struggle with the most. let’s move forward, not backwards. We owe it to ourselves, our families, the world.
I don’t think of myself as “Jewish”. As I’ve stated here before, I’m ethnically Jewish. I celebrate Christmas, I was certainly never Bar Mitzvah’d. Even though I am in Israel a lot, and work every day with Israelis, my Hebrew is limited to about 6 meaningless terms. But lately I feel fear because of my heritage. I also fear for my colleagues. For my friends. When groups march the streets and chant “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” without consequences (and with the tacit approval of the President and his enablers), and you live in a place with a notoriety for intolerance (Read this) it honestly scares me. And I’m someone who probably has nothing to really fear.
But what about my African American, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, etc. friends? How do they feel?
What about my female family members and friends? How do they feel?
My fatigue is bad. I’ve tried to not look at my phone when I wake up, but that doesn’t hide the facts, or the reality. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. If I’m this tired now, I don’t know how I’ll make it 3 more years. Or 3 more months.
I need a Morning.
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