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Can’t Keep Up

July 9, 2016

It’s been a busy 3-4 days, both personally and nationally.

As has probably been the case for most everyone else, the events in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas have intruded, even as day-to-day plans and events flow onward, or will go on without you. A long-planned family vacation has arrived. But the news, captured in snippets on social media and through television, keeps grabbing my spare bits of attention.

Honestly, I can’t really process it. It’s not just the distractions of family business and fun, but the totality of it all—what the news means. Even if I were at home, I’m not 100 percent sure of the best next step: participate in protests, read voraciously, discuss with friends, or just retreat into a cone of prayerful silence? Or maybe everything?

And what to do with my kids, especially my oldest (age eight), who catches the news more and more? Our strategy is to be as honest as possible. It generally works, even if it raises more questions. We’ll cross that bridge when it arrives.

The bigger overall problem is that I’ve vowed to keep quiet about politics, even if asked, while on family vacation. But there can be little doubt that our nation’s larger problems with gun control, structural racism, policing, xenophobia, education, Trumpism, neoliberalism, and, most importantly, economic inequality and poverty, are at the roots of the evils we are witnessing in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas.

I feel blessed (unironically) to have a family vacation. I know what it’s like to go without, both the vacation and the sense of family. So I’ll keep trying to ponder the meaning of this past week, even if I can’t literally keep up with the news. – TL

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