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This has been the worst news cycle of my life. Maybe all our lives, I don’t know. Certainly mine. All I know is nothing in my near fourteen years in a newsroom has even come close to topping this. Not the leadup to the 2012, 2016, or 2020 elections, not the botched Afghanistan withdrawal. Not the pandemic’s initial market volatility, not even the 45-minute cringe riot that was January 6th. Nope, war were declared back on February 23rd, and now that’s all my newsroom can focus on: One big explosion after another. Granted, we’re watching it from an economic standpoint and putting the focus on the price of energy, but it’s still exhausting when you’re constantly surrounded by several burning wildfires.

I know, I know, I’m supposed to care deeply and pledge my undying support based on the latest Twitter hashtag. I need to light a candle and pray that the outcome is the one they say it should be. I’ve been asked to set everything aside, forget we’re “still in a pandemic,” and watch one country invade another for reasons I still don’t fully understand.

But I can’t. Something in me just can’t feel anything other than a nascent sense of skepticism surrounding the entire process. I may not be able to smell the smoke, but I sure can see it. And I believe the fires are not coming from where they say they are.

I must admit I’m relatively ignorant in pinpointing exactly where all the tension began, but I do know it was long before current year 2022. The gas leak has been filling the mansion for a while, and it’s only now that the match has fully dragging across the striker. Either way, this is where we are right now, and we’ve just got to do our best to work around all the nonsense. Because there’s a lot of things going on that just don’t seem to add up to me.

Companies are pulling their businesses, banks are freezing services, Facebook says it’s now okay to call for violence on its plaform, long-standing ballet companies are changing names, The White House bringing in the TikTok influencers to give them talking points to share, and you better pour all that vodka you already paid for down the drain. Nevermind the other genocidal regimes who were committing atrocities long before this one broke out. Now they care. Now they take action to prevent further firestorms. Because it’s all going to help stop the already-lit powder keg from igniting, won’t it?

I’ve made it clear that I condemn war crimes, illegal invasions of countries, and loss of human life, regardless of who is holding the match. But that doesn’t seem to be good enough for some. Put the flag in your bio or you’re a war lord apologist. Say you denounce a certain person or else you’re just as genocidal as they are. I just don’t understand this all or-nothing approach. It just seems to be fanning the flames of division even further, when the messaging is all about shoving unity down our throats. I’m just feeling manipulated by all of it, and it’s sparking new anger within me. Because the moment I try and talk about how I feel, I just get shut down. I get called the “r*tard” for believing my lyin’ eyes. I’m the maniac who’d rather blow it all up rather than find comfort in the complacency. I can’t trust myself, I’m supposed to trust all those who insult me for reserving my skepticism about why all this is happening in the first place.

I don’t think anyone is right here. I just can’t see it that way. There are flaws in everything we experience. There’s right and there’s wrong. And right now, there’s just more wrong than right going on. It’s so hard to trust anything right now, even those I wish to trust more than anyone in the world. Maybe the answer is letting it all erupt and burn to the ground, only to rise stronger from the ashes. I’m not sure. But I do know I’ll keep my mind wide open on all of it, no matter what anyone else thinks.

I’ve always held a candle for the truth, and that’s all I want out of this. I don’t need the lies or emotional fallacies anymore. I want the truth. I want what’s real. I think we’re all due for that, regardless of where we stand or how many sticks of dynamite we’ve thrown at one another. Too much has been covered up for far too long, and what once could be swept under the rug now has a burning bright spotlight on it. Just like one can’t hide his or her feelings forever, the big bomb has no choice but to detonate.

But fear not. When all is said and done and we’ve recovered from the initial blast, we’ll all be standing together, stronger than ever before. That’s my hope, anyway. You won’t catch me lighting any fuses purposefully. I’m here to bring my own spark to the table, no matter what the news may bring.

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