On a climb 9,000 feet up Mount Shasta last month, I was surprised to hear the sound of a cell phone. I’d thought I was blissfully removed from contact with the rest of the world—and no contact meant no reading the news and feeling all the emotions that come with that these days. The ping told me I could take a peek.

But for one wonderful week, I resisted—simply climbing, hiking, swimming, and falling asleep under spectacular skies and mountain peaks. It was idyllic. Then, on the way home, my children and I stopped for lunch at the Hi-Lo Cafe in a town called Weed, and I succumbed to my phone while waiting for a BLT.

It was the second day of the Charlottesville rally by the so-called alt-right: white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis—and the day the President spoke about it in words as appalling as the event itself.

This was my jarring re-entry from America the beautiful to America the ugly. And it’s sure not over yet. Indeed, as recently as September 14, Trump again blamed both sides—as if there is any moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and people supporting for equality.

So how do we not merely survive this ugly chapter in America but do so in a way that will allow us to still recognize ourselves as Americans when this is over—perhaps even become better people as a result?

Here are three strategies that may help.

  1. Think about the news like food—or, more directly, be wise about your news intake.

At first, this might seem tantamount to hiding your head in the sand—or, worse, making it easier for those doing the damage to keep on doing it. But what if that’s not true? What if making more deliberate choices about the news will make you more capable of doing something useful in the world?

To read this entire post, visit the Elephant Journal. 

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