Political Porn And Other Bright Lights

We are all getting crazily attached to our devices these days, impatient to see the latest political developments and willing to be swallowed up by the hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute pace, emanating mostly from the Federal government but also closer to home. I am as guilty as the next person, getting lost in a fog of details, incomprehensible and outrageous as they seem to be.

I do try to avoid some news sources wherever and whenever possible.

It is critical for us, as citizens, to stay informed; but few things can be more unhealthy than staying maniacally consumed by the news, emotionally reacting and flinching at each update. Can we really sustain being fed information from every device, in every format, at all times? If this were food or drink, it would be easy to see that bingeing is bad practice.

Interacting with each update, second-to-second, reactively and interactively, in my mind must be the new smoking. In addition to the addiction-like characteristics, there may be real health or psychological detriments as well. Will we suffer from PNDD — Post News Distraction Disorder?

Even at the gym, where we are supposed to be getting healthy, people are running on the treadmill at the same time as they are ensconced in Fox, CNN, or MSNBC. I remember at first thinking it was a good incentive to run, as in run away, but then I wondered why I felt less healthy after a workout. The torrential rain of information, no matter where you go, seems to divert us from our work, our personal lives, our souls.

And what we are watching sometimes just seems empty as well. Rather than seeing work being accomplished, we see efforts that are politically motivated, with real issues being avoided. So they are avoiding real work the same way we are! It’s as if policy or legislative work were now being done only for entertainment purposes.

For me, for Less Cancer, I do see real work being done — to undermine public health safeguards, to make room for further corporate irresponsibility in the name of short-term profit.

We as a society cannot afford to be distracted, to go off course, to lose focus on whatever real work we may be doing. Yes, pay attention to the big issues, but not at the expense of advancing the interests of the public that you hold dear; they can be quickly moved down the priority pole.

For me, that’s the work of Less Cancer. Now more than ever we do need to be responding to the urgent calls from people around the country who look to Less Cancer and specifically to me, for helping them in navigating health and environment issues that need addressing.

I cannot be distracted by the political porn. I need to be primarily focused on our work: advocate on the public’s behalf when it comes to cancer prevention.

I suggest the same for anyone serving the public-all eyes must be on one’s work, we must work towards solutions and stay out of the trenches of political banter. Stay informed but stay focused.

First Published in the Less Cancer Journal

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