"Richard said withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy." -- R.E.M.
I've been thinking about this quote a lot with regard to social media in recent days with regard to the current cultural and moral crisis of the U.S. that hit its nadir with the election of T****. Although it permeates our lives and culture, the Internet is still extremely young, and it's obvious that we haven't yet figured out our limits with it. Social media in particular can be famously addictive, and it often doesn't matter how many times you tell yourself (or others tell you) not to read the comments section of a website or news article, you've got to rubberneck and sometimes even join in. And we receive so many messages about what is expected of us as activists, citizens, artists, whatever else you may be, that even attempting to detach oneself from Facebook, Twitter, or to take a break from watching or reading the news for a while, can be guilt-inducing. But it's okay to turn off and engage with the physical world in front of you. To gather your strength. When the president-elect and his most vile supporters use social media to abuse not only their opponents but the concept of truth itself, sometimes it's best to refrain as much as possible from exposure to that abuse. This is not the same as putting one's head in the sand. You know it's going on, you know it's not going to stop on its own accord. But its purpose is to make people feel demoralized, to use the historical language and arguments of the left and twist them to confuse people into thinking wrong is right, oppression is virtue, war is peace. You don't have to participate in that. And saving your strength and using it to combat hate and injustice on the ground can be a better, healthier strategy. Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.