The State of PanicManic

September 16, 2008, by Melissa Howden

I am in a STATE!

I intended to write about praise houses because they are about transcendence—something I am in dire need of, and I may still—but for the moment I am completely worked up, alternating between immobilizing anxiety and manic activity. I call it PanicManic. The onset of PanicManic started with the polls stating Obama and McCain were neck and neck.  It was then I began gasping for breath.

Despite all evidence to the contrary I am still stunned by the fact that I live in a country that actually believes someone such as Sarah Palin is worthy of consideration to perhaps run this country. And I have been overwhelmed with email from great thinkers and people of note—people for whom I have great respect, focusing on the Sarah Palin issue: “What do we do about Sarah Palin?”

The more urgent question is what do we do about a culture that would allow a woman such as Sarah Palin to become a legitimate question in the first place?

PEOPLE! This woman got her first passport last year! Yes Alaska borders Russia, but that does not a foreign policy expert make. We are talking GLOBAL politics, GLOBAL economies, GLOBAL warfare. We are not separate from the rest of the world. The issues we confront (global warming, violence, war, poverty, religious extremism, racism, education, national security, equal rights, healthcare for all—to name a few) are not separate from one another rather, interwoven—an ecosystem of moral imperatives and humanity. Our place in the world is influenced by how we treat the world and everything and everybody in it.

It is easy, far too easy in an election year for things to look black and white, red and blue, one sound bite after another. What I am concerned with here is LIFE. The life of the planet not just in terms of ecology, but also in terms of it’s health and vibrancy of spirit.

I walked precincts in Florida four years ago which surprised even me because when the Supreme Court ruled not to count every vote cast in Florida in 2000, I was done. I may be in PanicManic mode but I am not yet dead. This election is “the fight of a lifetime.” And when I go to local fundraisers, as I did the other night, and see young men and women who could be my children stepping in and stepping up, I am reassured and I am renewed. I know I must do more. I am going to Obama Camp and will work in a contested state for three to four weeks preceding the election to Get Out The Vote.  I continue to write checks for the campaign and related efforts. I am organizing in my neighborhood to raise money and get the vote out because red state/blue state, donkey/elephant, I believe it is imperative to the world that we have inclusive representation and governance. Taking action eliminates the need for escapist pharmaceuticals and My So Called Life reruns.

Take the challenge; do three things toward putting “inclusivity” in the White House and pass it on. Do something to take hold of this situation and affirm life—the life and survival of the planet.

And by the way, life is not a right, it’s a gift
not to be squandered.

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8 Responses to “The State of PanicManic”

  1. Emily Says:

    Go, Melissa!
    I’m suffering from a similar condition, Palinsomnia.

    McCain/Palin (aka Unstable/Unable) scare the crap out of me. So I’m making calls, writing checks, and will get out on the streets more in the coming weeks. I’m trying to maintain my hope & sanity in what sometimes feels like a hopeless, insane, surreal election battle. I too am reassured by the massive outpouring of new voters. But sometimes I still need the escapist pharmaceuticals to sleep thru the night.

    Thanks, fiftyisthenew & Melissa, for all your good stuff.

  2. CRobin Says:

    Oh my! I just read the story in the Minnesota Independent about Emily’s condition. Both Emily and Melissa seem to have something here. It seems like this condition could be growing into an epidemic. I’ve had symptoms myself.

    One thing I’ve decided to do about it is stop reading blogs, newspapers and watching TV news (maybe even the Daily Show) for a while. I’m trying to resist opening emails with the word Palin in the subject line. I hope that resisting the germ-carrying overload of information will help and in a week or so it will all die down and people who support the Republican ticket will come to their senses about the insanity and the lies. Like Melissa, I too vow to do something and not be paralyzed by fear and dumbfoundedness. Thanks for the reminder that we CAN do something about it.

  3. Wendy Says:

    I think she is a smokescreen that’s keeping us from asking the real questions about policy. Can we please get back to the issues?? Yes, it’s hard to believe that she could be taken seriously, but I felt like that with George W. Bush, and look where we are now…

  4. dearpru Says:

    Am I the only one whose consumption of chocolate has tripled since the announcement of Palin as McCain’s running mate? Oh hell, why lie? It’s quadrupled.

  5. Joanna Says:

    Palinsomnia – cool, at least there’s a name for this condition. Like Melissa and her other commenters, I too am suffering some serious anxiety that the repubs may pull off yet another four years. HOW CAN THIS BE?!?! McSame and Palin (I love the Unstable/Unable label) are not talking substance and certainly they aren’t addressing the financial, eco, or social tragedies that the US is facing. I’m in serious fear that the dems are vastly underestimating the general populous (like the flyover states where I am from) and they’ll wait until it’s too late to do something. And I honestly don’t know what that something they should be doing is, but I don’t see it happening (yet?).

    I am going to do as Melissa suggests and do at least three things.

    First, I’m donating money – even though I’m broke and make $8/hr at the moment. As someone at a fundraiser I was at said, “How much is it worth NOT to have a Republican in office worth?” Well, I don’t have that much money (lottery amounts!), but I will definately borrow some to donate.

    Second, I’m going to help organize a local get-out-the-vote campaign, even though in theory I’m in a state that “doesn’t count” because we’re blue (but you never know, so I’m not going to let the repubs count on my thinking that). As a sub item on number two, I’ve organized a new polling location in my neighborhood so that people won’t use the I-Don’t-Know-Where-My-Polling-Location-Is or the It’s-On-The-Other-Side-Of-The-Freeway excuses not to vote. That seriously hurt our neighborhood in the primary election where an awful incumbant Council Member was voted in. Another sub to number 2 is to help Melissa with the local fundraiser.

    Third. Hmm, this is a tough one. I’m considering taking a week before the campaign to go somewhere like Ohio or Michigan to help. I keep telling myself that going door to door and telephone phobias should be overcome by the fact that a repub might get re-elected. Argh! Can I be away from my business that long? Especially considering I’ve already booked my 10-day recovery or celebration trip to Hawaii leaving the morning after the election. I know I’ll need it either way.

    I watched _Blue State_ ( recently and it was enough to have me in tears. Will I go door to door and fail? Will I be able to recover if we don’t succeed?

    One other suggestion I heard at a fundraiser was to send a heartfelt letter to my friends and relatives in the midwest to tell them why I am supporting Obama/Biden and why I am afraid of McCain/Palin. I read one friend’s letter here: I have dreams/nightmares about writing this letter. What if I’m not successful? Well, I know I won’t be with the majority of my right wing religious family, but honestly they’re so poor that I will never understand how they are right leaning anymore than they will ever understand my left leanings…

  6. cfinhollywood Says:

    You go, Melissa! We must all do ANYTHING we can to get people to vote. One thing often overlooked is talking to other democrats and pointing out why some of the republican smears and lies are wrong. This gives them ammunition when they are talking to republicans and undecided voters who may believe the crap being put out there on a daily basis. Not everyone is up on the issues and can respond appropriately to the attacks. I have been exchanging daily (and exhausting and excruciating) emails with my brother who plans to vote for McCain, hacking down his every argument, forcing him to focus on the real issues, not the crap. I won’t give up! I don’t know if I can change his mind but I think we’re going to win!

    By the way, have you heard the latest republican trick? They are trying to pass laws in swing states like Michigan (with a large black population) that would NOT ALLOW PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR HOMES TO THE MORTGAGE CRISIS TO VOTE BECAUSE THEIR ADDRESS WON’T MATCH THEIR VOTER REGISTRATION RECORDS. We cannot allow this to happen!

  7. Tubularsock Says:

    This is a case for medical marijuana Mel! There is no time to lose.

    I’ll send it over by cab.

    Excellent blog! I know the feelings. The main scary point is not Palin as you said, but the fact that, “I live in a country that actually believes someone such as Sarah Palin is worthy of consideration.”

  8. Lori Oliver-Tierney Says:

    I just got off the phone with my college age son and was in tears telling him how sad and confused I am that we are in this situation of a neck to neck campaign. Have people lost their minds? The thing that is worse than McCain winning is he could die in office and then Palin would actually be our first woman president. I can’t even fathom this. My husband and I are going to France over Christmas and I don’t know how I will be able to show my face if McCain wins. The only good thing about the situation is it takes my mind off my moms death and the horrible situation education is in now with the No Child Left Behind Act (I am a teacher) that I call No Child Left untested. I can only hope and yes pray that people come to their senses.

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