Election Anxiety

It’s no secret that this election has our country more divided than in many years. I can’t speak to elections before I came along but I don’t recall ever feeling so distant, so disengaged from politics. Once as a high school freshman I wrote a letter to the editor at our town paper describing how disappointed I was in our gubernatorial candidates’ treatment of one another. I felt their angry rhetoric was damaging to productive political conversation and a disgrace to the position. Needless to say, the bar has been lowered.

I force myself to listen to the news so I’m not completely out of touch, but I’d rather do anything else. Even surrounded by people with similar viewpoints  my stomach drops at first mention of the 2016 election, of Trump’s latest quote, of Clinton’s latest email. Unfortunately this election hasn’t seemed to spur much discussion of the issues. I don’t feel better educated about the issues that affect all of us. Partly this is my fault as I start to avoid politics closer to the election date. Partly this is how the discussion has taken place.

In less than two weeks we will no longer be anxiously anticipating election results. We’ll be deep in discussion as to how the results will play out.What will we see as a result of a Clinton or Trump presidency? And slowly after that, we’ll start to go back to incorporating the rest of our lives into conversation, one little detail at a time.

I hate that I feel this way. I used to love political debate and grew up in a household where I was encouraged to ask questions. When I didn’t understand why my parents felt one way, they never hesitated to explain themselves and why others felt differently. I consider it a point of pride that I try to understand the opposite viewpoint even when I violently disagree. For the time being though, I’m just going to vote early and eagerly await the end of an obscenely long election season. Election fatigue, election anxiety- call it whatever you want. I’m turning off the TV and reading a book for the next two weeks.

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