I am outraged by the outrage. Exhausted by it. And bored. Depressed, too.
Outrage is served with my morning coffee, played on my car radio, whipped up for dessert at dinner. It scents the flowers I buy from the street vendor and blares from the speakers in the gym. Outrage has turned into our collective default pose, the attitude we turn to at the slightest provocation.
We are outraged at NFL players and at President Trump, at Republicans and Democrats, at FEMA and Florida Power & Light, at convoluted tax codes and failed healthcare reform, at … well, you get the picture. The list might be shorter if I focused at what has NOT caused an outpouring of indignation.
While many issues merit our concern, the importance of those is often lost in our national demonstrations of righteous anger and public hysterics. The massacre in Las Vegas, so unbelievably horrific, puts everything in perspective. We are living through hyper-sensitive times and some of our outrage tends to the petty.
I, for one, am suffering from outrage fatigue. Enough. I’m calling a one-sided one-woman truce. This week, and particularly in light of the mass shooting, I’m writing about uplifting news. I owe it to myself.
I’m carving out an agenda-free space, a place to calm our careening thoughts and soothe our frayed nerves, where smiles and goosebumps are encouraged and nary an insult is hurled or affront taken. Check your irritability at the door.
Did you hear about Deshaun Watson’s touching act of generosity last week? The Houston Texans quarterback donated his first NFL paycheck to three women who prepare his team’s meals every day. The cafeteria workers had lost cars and homes during Hurricane Harvey, so when Watson surprised them with three envelopes tied with red ribbons, they were moved to tears.
“For what you all do for us every day, I’ll never complain,” he said. “I really appreciate you all so I wanted to give my first game check to you all to help you all out some type of way so here you guys go.”
This was Watson’s way of paying back. As a kid, his family was the recipient of a home through Habitat for Humanity.
Excuse me for a sec while I swallow the lump in my throat.
Though I’m skeptical of billionaire CEOs and rapacious corporations, here’s a story that proves some are not afraid to put their money where their mouth is. Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, a company with a market cap of $66 billion, is doing his part to even the gender pay gap.
When a 2015 assessment found that wages for both men and women needed tweaking, Benioff spent $3 million to “eliminate statistically significant differences in pay.” This year, the company did it again, spending another $3 million. The philanthropic arm of his company also has opened its coffers to the San Francisco Bay Area public schools, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
The skeptics among us might claim Benioff needs to keep his employees happy. Perhaps. But Benioff could have looked the other way, as others do. He chose not to and in my book, that promotes him to the good-guy column.
There’s more: Miami rapper Pitbull sent his private plane to Puerto Rico to bring cancer patients to the United States for chemo treatment.
“Thank God we’re blessed to help. Just doing my part,” Pitbull told the Daily News.
And in the chaos of the Las Vegas shooting, stories about selfless acts are already emerging. Closer to home, my eastside neighbor trudged across the yard to offer a hook-up to his whole-house generator after Irma turned off the lights and downed our shared fence.
Little acts, big results: proof that we can, and do respond to the whispers of our better angels.
So if you want to press the outrage meter, go right ahead. Me, I’m giving it a rest.