Also known as Doomscrolling, as this Wired article explains. 2020 has been a tsunami of terrible news and disheartening human behavior.
If there’s any bright side to 2020, it’s that more and more people are realizing that the gaslighting of the last four years, where reason and empathy gave way to politicizing previously objective things, is slowly but surely crumbling. Viruses don’t care about politics. Scientists, it turns out, know a lot more about science than game show hosts. People of all stripes are marching in the streets, not out of some radical cause, but for the simple notion that the skin you’re born into shouldn’t automatically preordain a life of exclusion and harassment and premature death.
I realize the message isn’t getting through to everybody. A lot of my doomscrolling involves watching people scream about the need for masks being a hoax, or an assault on their freedom–didn’t their parents ever teach them about cooperation?–and then capping it off by screaming the name of their favorite dementia-addled orange carny, 2020! But you can see in their eyes that they’re running scared. Like they realize deep down America isn’t great “again,” but they don’t have the coping skills to process it, so they lash out like toddlers.
Ironically, the only way we can make non-political things non-political again is to vote our conscience in November. Not just in the presidential race, but all down the line, vote out all the ghouls who sow mistrust of science, journalism, logic, critical thinking skills, historical perspective, and empathy.