Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

Did you go to the state Democratic Convention last week? It was right here, in our home town.

I didn't either.

Are you taking time off from work to watch the impeachment hearings in our nation's capital? This is only the third time in history we've seen this happen.

I'm not watching.

Are you at least listening to the NPR recap of the day? Fox News, maybe?

I've actually changed the channel a time or two.

As a newsman and self-described political wonk, you'd think I would be eating this stuff up. We had multiple presidential candidates right here in Long Beach last weekend — I should have been jumping up and down to get in.

I went to Universal Studios to watch my wife run in a 5K instead.

In fact, I tried to talk to her about my sudden indifference to things political, at least on the national level. She didn't understand — she's never liked politics to begin with.

I fear I'm suffering from burnout. I know it makes my head (and heart) hurt to hear purported leaders of our country calling each other names, making outrageous accusations of malfeasance or base motivations for doing something and just generally spewing hatred.

 I know, we've been dealing with forms of this ultra-partisanship for decades. The whole Newt Gingrich party above all approach was ugly to begin with, and the decision to respond in kind was very damaging to the country.

But it has gotten worse as time goes on.

Or at least that's my perception. Party politics long have been pretty ugly, and government affairs have involved tit-for-tat attacks.

Still, was it really this bitter? Was there the sense of honest-to-God dislike and suspicion we see today? I don't think so.

You've heard me talk before about working to make a difference where you can make a difference — worry about things you can do something about and leave the rest. That's my justification for caring about local politics — city, county, sometimes even state — and not spending significant amounts of time on the rest.

I am worried that this national ugliness could impact the public's interest in local issues. It behooves our local politicians to make it clear they are here for the common good, not the nasty partisanship polluting the national stage.

Don't get me wrong; I'll still cast my vote for president and I'll still care about who we send to Washington, D.C. I'll even try to be an informed voter, and urge you to do the same.

But for my peace of mind, not to mention my blood pressure, I've decided to take a break when it comes to obsessing over the national stuff. I don't need to watch grown men and women acting like a bunch of middle schoolers at recess.

I'll still know what's going on. I don't have much of a choice, considering what I do for a living. 

It's just that I'm going to try to take it in as small a dose as possible, at least for a bit. Maybe by February the burnout will have faded and I can get excited about it all before the state primary.

Until then, let's talk Thanksgiving. Let's sing Christmas carols, decorate the tree, light the Menorah and all that good stuff. It is time to celebrate something of far more importance than that noise coming from D.C.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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