Election Cycle Fatigue

ASHLEY BENTSEN

Politics, especially elections, create a vicious cycle that can bring out the worst in people. It can poison relationships, destroy friendships, and even has the potential of tearing apart families. It lures the American people in as spectators, who stand avidly in front of a completely inauthentic match between two absurd candidates of national politics, to which we have media-provided front row seats. As a consequence, this newfound form of entertainment has caused our great nation to enter into a mindless trance.

img_1414As of now, we the American people live in bubbles where our own beliefs, experiences, and biases are perceived as factual. Any effort to state opinions as what they are, opinions, feels like a provocation or is antagonistic and leads to conflict rather than conversation. Rather than honing our skills of debate, we are merely sharpening our spears to fend off our challengers, especially in the world of social media.

The amount of times I have seen futile arguments on social media in the past few months has been overwhelming. Debate and disagreement are appropriate- in fact, they are necessary for a healthy being- but when opportunity arises to aimlessly hurl ill-mannered and impertinent comments at people of the opposing side, the people of social media seem to load up their guns.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who, in the world of social media, have used their platform to communicate their thoughts and opinions, and have done so with dignity. However, in recent days the amount of repulsive swearing and primitive attacks via social media has left me in a state of utter disgust.

An historical election? Yes. An entertaining election? Definitely. An enjoyable election? Not at all. Rather than cultivate a rational and cogent conversation, we block, delete, unfriend, unfollow and disregard- consequently making us all the more ignorant.

img_1413So while the dynamics and results of this election cycle will be studied for years, the question for us as a nation is “Where do we go from here?”. It may be that, only one day after the surprising result, the wounds are still too fresh for some to begin constructive conversations. It may be yet too soon to revisit strained relationships with family and friends and to begin to build the necessary bridges that will allow those relationships to move on. It is important to note that many of those who arguably have had far more invested- Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, to name a few- have already reached across the aisle and pledged to work with the new government. They know that this is necessary for the vigor of our nation. In fact, it is as much a fabric of our democracy as is the need for conversation and debate.

America has made its decision in the process it was given by its founding fathers. Now, the healing must begin and the United States must move on for they also know that as sure as the sun will rise, the next election cycle begins today.

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