There is a lot of terrible, no good, awful, horrifying stuff in the news lately. At Stanford, in Kalamazoo, in Orlando, and pretty much wherever the presumptive GOP nominee deigns to open his garbage pale of a mouth and spew drivel that "gives voice and legitimacy to some of our darkest thoughts and oldest prejudices." This kind of onslaught of depressing news and tragedy weighs on us all in different ways. Our brains can only take so much, before we need to untangle our thoughts from terrible things. It's science.
So in this issue, I wanted to share a few stories - some serious, some silly - that might, in some small way, offset the awfulness of recent weeks - stories that reflect who we really are, what we're really made of, and what it looks like when we're actually good humans to one another.
It looks like a vice president openly honoring the courage and bravery it took for a woman to write and speak about her rape and the injustices of our institutions and court systems that failed her - and continues to fail other survivors.
It looks like a group of people on a New York City subway who refused to embrace fear and suspicion or stand idly by, and instead stood up and spoke up for their fellow humans.
It looks like an incredible, eight-minute rant from Samantha Bee (language warning) questioning how we can possibly continue to accept mass shootings as the cost of simply going to school or a mall or a movie or church or a club on a Saturday night.
It looks like the kindness and empathy that poured out in a Michigan community following its second battle through tragedy this year.
It looks like a straight, white, middle-aged, Republican male politician who recognizes his own privilege and his own past transgressions in honoring the LGBTQ victims of the mass shooting in Orlando,
It looks like the quick, instinctive actions of a Marine who saved several dozen people by simply thinking beyond himself.
It looks like the all-too-rare courage it takes to put your country over party politics, and in doing so, stand up to a bully and bigot whose very existence in our democratic process is a cancer to it.
It looks like a 91-year-old woman who returned to the place in which her own country imprisoned her and her peers 73 years ago, to deliver the same graceful commencement speech that she did back then, about having faith in our collective selves.
It looks like Shea Serrano - my newsletter spirit animal - who, instead of charging his tens of thousands of subscribers to read his Basketball (And Other Things) newsletter, got people to donate to a nonprofit organization that provides meals for kids in families in extreme poverty, a small act of kindness to help feed those who otherwise might not be able to.
It looks like a cowboy on a horse, in the middle of a shopping center, who lassoes a bike thief, after responding to a woman's call for help. Because bike thieves are cowards.
And, it looks like the grace, humility, and kindness expressed by one outgoing president to the man who defeated him. It's hard to imagine right now, but we can still be this.
There is a lot of tragic and toxic stuff to wade through these days, but examples of kindness, empathy, and generosity are everywhere. We just have to make sure we look for those stories too.
So don't let the bastards grind you down. And be good to one another.
Thanks for reading. Hope you have a safe and wonderful weekend.