There's a new movement spreading through my circle of Obama supporters: getting off the news sites and the political blogs. It makes sense on the surface that staying informed would help us spread the word and convince the undecided. But when hours get eaten up by reading campaign miniutiae, emailing it around, writing it up, those are hours lost to phone banking and fundraising. And when every bad-news story or worrisome poll kicks off hours of anxiety, we're not going to be bringing our best to the task.
One of my friends asked a particularly confident campaign worker how he keeps his head in the midst of the insanity. The guy told him that "one way he stays calm and measured is that he is just too busy to look at the websites, blogs, talking heads, etc." So, my friend decided, "I am going to try to go cold turkey and just stop looking at this stuff. It's just a huge hysteria feedback loop. I already know everything I need to know. In some measure, I'm just using the election as a 'legitimate' excuse to feed my internet addiction. I will just keep working, writing, organizing fundraisers, and make it through the next 55 days (one day at a time!) in full faith that it will work out okay even if I don't read HuffPo every 22 minutes."
Nothing gets me through "one day at a time" better than the good old serenity prayer: "God (or whoever) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." I can't change how the McCain and Obama campaigns are run, how the right wing reacts to Sarah Palin, or the huge shifts tracked by polls. I may as well be serene in the face of that, because anxiety doesn't help anybody. What I want is the courage to host a fundraiser and invite everyone I know, to pick up the phone and see if I can reach some Democrat who needs a little encouragement to get out and vote or some old white guy who needs a little reassurance before he can support a black candidate with left-wing ties.
So I'm spreading the word: maybe we should all do less watching, reading, and worrying, so we can all take a little more action. That's how change will come.