Volume 2, Issue 1
Editor’s Note: between the time this graphic was drawn and the time of release, I am getting conflicting reports about the missiles fired at the Iraqi/American base. Some reports have said that the Iranians fired at an empty base on purpose as a “symbolic act,” while other reports say that the Americans were able to track the missiles and evacuate in time.
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Why Should I Be Informed?
3 MIN READ
It's the first Civilian issue of 2020, and congratulations!! Most of you have been here for a full year. I'm so grateful for your eyes, ears, and brains (okay, that sounded weird). Let me try this again-- thank you for sharing your brain with me in 2019! (Well, you know what I mean)
For this issue, I wanted to share a very simplified timeline of the situation in Iran. News is breaking every day in this arena, but I hope this simple timeline will get you acquainted so you can follow along with whatever comes next.
But here's what I really wanted to talk to you about today. A few weeks ago, a brave reader reached out to me and said, "Sarah, I thought I wanted to be informed. I wanted to commit to watching and reading the news. But I can't. It gives me so much anxiety, I just can't handle it."
No matter what side you are on, there is enough in the news these days to cause plenty of anxiety, anger, frustration, and insecurity. However, I think that one of the best ways to counteract these feelings is to start a daily habit of reading the news. Sounds counter-intuitive, no? I know, but keep reading…
Let me tell you about something that happens when my family goes on a road trip. When my husband is driving, that means it's my turn to read, zone out, or deal with my kiddos in the back seat. I'm obviously not paying much attention to the road. Every once in a while, however, I glance up and see, maybe, a line of traffic forming ahead, or a neighboring car driving erratically. At this, I GASP VERY LOUDLY and do that weird "imaginary brake" thing that we all know and love. This sets off a chain of events in which (1) my husband jolts; (2) he swerves or brakes in response to my alarm; (3) he realizes that he was already aware of the situation that I am alarmed about; and (4) starts telling me that he "HAS IT UNDER CONTROL" and asking "WHY DO I ALWAYS SCARE HIM LIKE THAT?" Yes, it's fun times. Yet it always happens.
This is what, I think, can happen when you aren't regularly paying attention to the news. It's really easy to check out because, well, someone else is driving the car. But when you overhear someone chatting about "World War III," or catch the latest "breaking news alert" about an assassination in Iran, it's very easy to have heart palpitations. I'm not trying to downplay what's going on in the world--many things are important, serious, and worthy of our emotions--but if you have a regular practice of news reading, you can understand the context and feel more in control of the information.
Another thing that happens is that you'll realize that things change pretty slowly. Let's look at the topics that I covered early in 2019: impeachment (still unresolved); Brexit (still unresolved); and the 2020 election (obviously hasn't happened yet). It can be incredibly frustrating that things take a while to change, yet it can also be encouraging. Not much big-picture stuff happens on an overnight basis.
Now, not to get too grand-stand-y, but it our ultimate privilege here in the good ole U.S. of A to take part in our democratic republic. We have a voice in what's going on, we have a voice in our leadership. Our opinions really do matter. You can cast your vote, you can contact your leadership, you can protest, you can work for a cause. But none of these things are really possible without knowing what's going on.
You may have noticed that I have said "reading the news" I say reading--not watching or listening--because I think that is the best way to get non-biased sources. I personally read The Week and Axios daily--it usually takes about 5 minutes. These are the sources I like the best and that have proven to me to be the most centered. But you can choose what you like! Check out my chart for news sources here and make your decision. Do you find that you enjoy listening to podcasts more?! Awesome! You do you. Give yourself a short-term goal of staying on top of the news daily. 30 days maybe? See what you think--and let me know if you agree with me in the end.
Everyone is welcome here.
Regardless of your viewpoint or your political party, if you’ve never followed politics in your life, or if you read ten news outlets a day, I thank you for joining us here. I’d love to hear your feedback on this issue and all issues yet to come. Simply reply to this email or find The Civilian on Twitter.
With respect and civility,
(anything written or expressed in The Civilian does not reflect the views or policies of my employer)