Political Issues

Let’s Take a Collective Mental-Health Deep Breath, Shall We? Maga Hat-Wearing Kids Edition

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Photo: Getty Images/Aaron Amat
It's Sunday. You've all seen the viral video. Let's take a deep cleansing breath. Because this is a lot.

A friend earlier this week called the photo of White House staff lighting long fancy candles on a table full of fast-food boxes as President Trump looked on proudly "the history book cover." But I'd argue that this will be the more indelible Trump-era memory: the video of a bunch of white teens wearing Make America Great hats—with one boy smirkingly staring down Vietnam vet and Omaha Nation member Nathan Phillips (as he sang and drummed) during Friday's "March for Life" in Washington, DC.

And even if you think that the kids are getting an unfair shake—a la reality show stars who complain about the way they were edited—the fact remains that what happened in the video happened, no matter what preceded or followed it. So, we need to deal with it. Like I said, deep breaths.

What if we gave the wisest voices a moment to have their say?

As this plays out in the echo chambers of TV news and Twitter, those screaming the loudest (or typing the fastest) will get the most coverage and retweets. But hot takes go cold quickly. And you're left with: not much. What if we gave the wisest voices a moment to have their say? Like the famous Mr. Rogers quote about scary situations ("look for the helpers"), at times like this there are some voices I routinely seek out.

So here's some Sunday reading: thoughts from brains that have committed years of their lives to mindful contemplation or cultural commentary or just general deep thoughts. So that, instead of re-watching the videos (or worse, listening to the disingenous arguments from pundits on TV who, let's face it, should just have wrestler names at this point), you can start your week with some wisdom. Clearly the kids need that from us.

Here's my (very subjective) list of speakers to add to your news diet this week, as the national conversation on the MAGA hat-wearing kids goes on.

1 Ethan Nichtern, author of The Dharma of The Princess Bride

Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala lineage, is maybe the most pop culture-savvy Buddhist voice around.

2. Poet Maryam Hasnaa

She's one of the most inspiring women on Instagram—so, definitely worth a follow, today or any other. This post isn't specifically about Friday's march, but hits the zeitgeist feeling anyway.

3. Pema Chodron

File this under "good advice is always timely." The beloved Buddhist teacher (and author of When Things Fall Apart) hasn't even tweeted for a while—but I got a spark of inspiration from her feed, anyway. The greats never go out of style.

And while you're scouring social media for inspo, don't skip Jonathan Van Ness' quest for ice-skating greatness or the surprisingly uplifting content written by men on OKCupid (yes, really). 

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