I Got Election Fatigue. So, I’m Gonna Self-Reflect and Unplug

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On Election Day, the staff at The North Star took on a grueling, nearly 24-hour workload to bring our audience the liberation-oriented coverage of the election they trust us to offer. We ran an up-to-the-minute live blog, wrote reflective op-eds, and hosted a seven and a half-hour live show on Twitch led by Shaun King.

Our team is a blend of seasoned journalists and novice news writers. Some of us had endured the gauntlet of election day coverage in previous years at other outlets. Some of us had never worked the news side of an election and received insight on how to navigate the day from the vets.

We conversed with a multitude of activists, organizers, legal experts, and celebrities to get their commentary on their hopes for the presidential election, but more importantly, to inquire about the races and ballot measures that would impact their local communities. The North Star regularly reports on systemic oppression, police brutality, progressive change agents, and social inequities that plague America, so our perspective on the election was laser-focused beyond the wins and losses of candidates.

I am one of the members of our small team who was a newbie to the madness of election coverage. In between show-running for the Twitch live stream, writing and editing, bouncing between Twitter, CNN, and other media outlets to get varying perspectives and pushing to remain alert (and caffeinated), I can say with complete honesty I am glad that this season has ended.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have officially been elected as the 46th president and vice-president of the United States, bringing an end to the repugnant Trump era. Biden is nowhere near the progressive champion that marginalized Americans need, he is just not willfully destructive and boldly racist as Trump. Harris has made history, with respect to her identity and position.

Whether she will be Biden’s progressive sounding board remains to be seen, but I for one have tempered expectations.

I knew that regardless of the presidential outcome, my life would remain outside the margins because that is what being Black in America entails. As important as it is for me to be informed/engaged in the political process, it is of even greater importance for me to be tuned in to my own wellness.

In the spirit of unplugging, I ask you, reader, to allow me to do something a bit unconventional. A couple of years ago, I got a book called “2000 Questions About Me” from Five Below, which consists of random questions on topics as trivial as favorite foods to more introspective ideas around outlooks on life.

I initially got it to have an icebreaker when teaching creative writing workshops to teenagers, as it generally functions as a great conversation starter. I’m gonna ask myself some of these questions in the next few paragraphs and welcome you to do the same.

Self-care comes in many forms. Right now, mine will look like thinking about something other than politics and asking myself a few questions to deepen the clarity within.

A One-Sided Interview

(*all questions from “2000 Questions About Me”)

Can you solve a Rubik’s cube?

Honestly, I have never actually tried. I do, however, admire anyone who is able to. I believe it requires a great deal of patience and strategy to accomplish, which are skills that are applicable in life. Plus, it looks cool when all the colors align.

How do you resolve conflict?

I generally try to avoid conflict, which is a strange admission seeing that I also push strongly to speak truth to power in the face of adversarial voices. I told my therapist that I struggle with conflict avoidance with people I love or those I am closely connected to. She advised me of healthier ways to address the inevitability of conflict. I got all the smoke necessary for a white supremacist, homophobe or abuser.

I’m still working on how to balance tenderness with tension when it comes to being at odds with people I care about.

What is the biggest piece of wisdom you think our elders can offer?

Their honest lived accounts. Whenever I seek counsel from an elder, I look for them to be totally transparent with me about their triumphs and struggles. Particularly as it pertains to matters of overcoming inequality or fighting for their humanity. The narratives of our elders can aid us in living out new chapters, so long as we are willing to listen and they are willing to keep it 100.

What was the brand of your first-ever cell phone?

Pretty sure it was Sprint. I know it was a flip phone and it was during the ringtone era.

Has your intuition or “gut” served you well?

I want to say that at age 40, my discernment has kept me out of harm’s way. I certainly do not always have the right instincts, but I have come to trust myself by recognizing what serves my best interests. These internal warning signals are not fully fail-proof, but I’d rather err on the side of my own judgment in more cases than not.

What type of people scare you?

People who move about the world with a hidden agenda worry me. I think about these type of people a lot with respect to race relations. I have no respect or love for unabashed bigots or white supremacists, but I can appreciate not being confused as to where they stand.

It is the people who discreetly move in opposition to me/my people that gravely concern me.

The most annoying bill you have to pay?

It is no longer a direct payment, but I have always been opposed to the idea of paying a water bill because it’s water.

Do you think any kind of afterlife exists?

My beliefs around life after the physical realm are ever-evolving and somewhat complex. As a kid growing up in a southern Black baptist church, I was indoctrinated into the afterlife binary of heaven or hell. I later read that several prominent religious scholars denounced hell as a mythical concept used to manipulate humans into being their best selves.

I only consider the concept of heaven when I think about close loved ones I’ve lost. I want to believe that they are in some version of paradise because all of their stories deserved to end that way. I think I am consistently now of the belief that the other side of physical death is an energy transfer in which the best of humanity gets to continue their journey through the bodies of others and the worst folks just die.

I fully anticipate Donald Trump to just be dead whenever he dies.

Do you prefer blue or black inked pens?

I prefer typing. I have damn near forgotten how to handwrite.

What is your biggest debt right now?

I owe myself a lot of missed opportunities that anxiety and uncertainty took from me. I am often in debt to my dreams and to anyone who has believed in me in moments where I did not show up as my full self. I am working every day on repaying myself for lost time and squandered opportunities. I have folders in Google Drive filled with templates for ideas that read like a stack of unpaid bills. Outside of what I owe me, I am actually pretty current on fiscal matters, which is a new territory to be in, to say the least.

About the Author

Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be.