A couple years ago, I conceived of a National Shut the Fuck Up Day, on which every American would agree to shut the fuck up—about their pet causes and pet peeves, their beefs against corporate customer service, their panics about global warming and global terrorism, their dialogues on race and also their fascination with sports, sideboobs and the like.
Sick trolls and paid pundits and every one of us in between—everyone would just take a day to shut the fuck up.
“You go to Facebook, and it’s just white space,” I fantasized. “You turn on CNN, and Wolf Blitzer is just sitting at his desk in the Situation Room, thinking.”
Starting on election night, I blogged for 16 straight hours straight, maybe because I worried that if I actually stopped, the thing might actually come true. “Don’t look over your shoulder,” Satchel Paige said. “Something might be gaining on you.” And it was. Every time I got distracted from Trump for 20 minutes—for instance at Scout’s parent-teacher conference yesterday—the reality of it hit me fresh. TRUMP WINS!?
We’ve all had two straight days of public weeping and public crowing, of I can’t believe this, of how did you not see this coming I knew it all along, of it probably won’t be as bad as you think, of it will be even worse than you think, of more public weeping and crowing, of arguing whether or not we should protest, of “read this” and just “this.”
It’s all been healthy. And we will need to keep talking to one another, really expressing ourselves and, I hope, really listening to one another—a lack of listening clearly having been one reason Donald Trump got elected (to make us listen).
With freedom on our minds, this is hardly the moment to tell one another to Shut the Fuck Up. So may I just gently suggest it might be best to simply be quiet for a day, each of us, and THINK—about all we’ve read and all we’ve heard since Tuesday night. And what we’ve felt and said and how we felt when we said it.
In fact, let’s make it a long weekend. Long enough to do something else to take our minds off, so we can come back to it fresh.
America will still be here Monday. President Obama will still be here Monday. And yes, President-Elect Trump will still be here Monday (though I hope he takes the weekend off too). There are so many angles to this, so many things to say, so much to wonder about and so much we might do. And we’ll be better rested, more in touch with ourselves, and better-prepared to take on this next chapter—and yes, to resume talking with one another more thoughtfully beginning next week.
You don’t have to observe Stop and Think Weekend.
But I’m going to.
And the more of us who do it, the better off we’ll all be.
“How was your Stop and Think Weekend?”
“Quiet, actually. And you know? That was just what I needed.”