Chicken Little


I had an odd response to the 2012 presidential election: I stopped watching the news.

I also stopped reading the news on the Internet.

In fact, not a single television show appealed to me and the blackened screen simply became a piece of ubiquitous furniture in the center of the room. At that point I had already abandoned social media such as Facebook and Twitter so I was left with a decent amount of time on my hands.

My work as a Catholic publisher took on a new meaning. I was working on Jennifer Frank’s fiction title He Shall Be Peace and I found myself praying for it every moment of my work day. My desire to get solid, entertaining, faith-filled books into the hands of the lay faithful became an obsession.

As did my own desire to read.

My appetite for books was ravenous. In the month and a half following the election I read well over a dozen books. I read the entire Book of Revelation (Navarre Bible Study version) as well as the entire Gospel of Matthew (Navarre Bible Study version). Every day brought new titles in the mail (since all our local bookstores have closed). I visited many Catholic websites and paid high prices for shipping and full retail price in an effort to make some sort of pro-Catholic statement with my consumer dollars.

During that time, my own business required me to have conversations with a variety of people from across the country: mostly women, but a couple of men, too. Somehow the conversations always took a turn in which I would need to admit to my perplexing response to the election (which at first I couldn’t quite explain). I was quite taken aback as I was told by every person—without exception—“Me, too! I can’t quite figure out why but I feel drawn inward.”

Very quickly I was able to see that I wasn’t alone in my reaction. As those conversations became more numerous and consistent in what people were saying I began to more fully understand my own reaction: I was being called to strengthen myself in Christ. I needed to immerse my mind, heart and spirit in the things of Christ. My foundation needed to be built on the rock of salvation so as to be able to withstand whatever was to come against it.

Sound crazy?


Okay, probably.

But I recalled the phrase: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t after you.”

Just because every generation has had a Chicken Little doesn’t mean the sky isn’t about to fall.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Chicken Little. At least I didn’t think so…

Since I made a donation to the 2012 Republican Party, I’m now on a few contact lists. A few weeks ago Rick Santorum’s new Super Pac committee gave me a call.

The gal on the phone said, “If you could describe your response to the 2012 presidential election in one word what would it be?”

That’s easy, “Tragic.”

Clearly I gave the sort of response that led the young person at the other end to proceed according to her outlined script, “Then may I ask you to listen to a one-minute, pre-recorded message from Mr. Santorum?”

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Santorum who is a pro-life, like-minded fellow Catholic so was easily able to say, “Certainly!”

Now if you would have known me before the election, you would have rightfully expected my response to the pre-recorded message to be one of enthusiastic passion as I pulled out my checkbook and contemplated what I could give and yet still feed my family. However, my heart rate remained steady as I listened to Rick’s zealous message about “now more than ever….”

When it was over the gal came back on the line and continued with her script, “As you can see, it is very important that we stop the …”

I politely let her finish reading from her script which then ended with a request for my help. At that point I responded in the most natural way possible. I didn’t even think about what I was about to say. It just came out so matter-of-factly that it even caught me by surprise, “I’m sorry but I believe our time is better spent right now preparing for Christ’s return.”

There was dead silence at the other end.

I admit I felt like a right-wing lunatic—those stereotypical ones that are made fun of in the media and in Hollywood. I actually felt bad for this young woman as I’m sure she frantically tried to find that particular response in her script so that she would know how to proceed. I didn’t want to be rude and hang up so I waited.

After a full minute of silence (during which I imagined her keying in some sort of comment by my name on her list) she finally said, “Ok. Thank you.”

To which I could only reply, with a heart full of compassion for the predicament in which I had unintentionally put her, “You are welcome.”

I hung up having a whole new respect for Chicken Little. Poor guy.


About Author

  • Lara Lee

    Add another, “Me too!” I called it detoxing – and am right there with you!

    • Cheryl Dickow

      That’s a great word for it: detoxing! It feels good, doesn’t it?!

  • Larry W2LJ

    Cheryl – thanks for the post. You have put into words exactly how I feel, also. I still glance at the headlines from time to time; but for the most part have abandoned TV and the radio (except for the local Christian music station). I have decided that I have had enough and am putting into action my own words – “I am a Catholic who is American, not an American who happens to be Catholic”.
    Therefore, I have delved more deeply into the daily Mass readings (Laudate is such a cool app!), reciting the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet daily. I have put the fate of our Nation in our Savior’s hands – where it belongs, anyway.

    • Cheryl Dickow

      Thank you for taking the time to reply and share your feelings. It is always good to know that the feelings we have are shared by others. Blessings.

  • I also stopped watching most news programs after the election. I felt and still feel so separate, as if I am no longer a part of this nation and the direction it is taking.

    • Cheryl Dickow

      My heart and prayers are with you, Ron.

  • Ed Itorial

    I stopped watching television a year ago. As a baby boomer, I grew up with television and the knowledge that television was bringing to its viewers the truth of things in this world. Television was the principle manner in which the world communicated in an immediate way. All of that has quite simply changed before our eyes.

    While television fell to consumerism and the bias of corporate journalism, the internet rose from the quality of freedom and the search for truth. Though it carries the worst as well as the best, the internet is a far better place to seek the truth than in the world of television. Television is on the way out; most of us just don’t know it yet.

    • Cheryl Dickow

      Ed, I think you make an interesting point.

      While I do believe the Internet does allow a seeker of truth to forage through untold amounts of trash and ultimately find a like-minded person or organization, I would argue that it has already fallen to consumerism and ego-driven agendas. Even sites and organizations that deliver “truth” have not escaped the lure of fame and following.

      I would be hard-pressed to see the Internet as better than its “predecessor”: television.

      It will be interesting to see what the next couple of years brings and how our souls fare.

      Lots at stake.