Election Fatigue

Posted on November 3, 2016 by

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The Countdown Has Begun

T-minus 6 days and the United States of America will have a new President. The transition of power will have begun. One half of the country will be celebrating in some form or fashion, while the other (hopefully) accepts the will of the people. With over a year of campaigning there is just one question on nearly every citizen’s mind, “Can this election be OVER already?!” Personally I’m at a loss. Sure every election has it’s own ups and downs, positives and negatives, but typically they can balance out generally well. The campaigns of 2008 and 2012 had their own issues. Sure in 2008 we were in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression; 2012 became the kick off year for social justice issues after the legalization of same sex marriage in two states.

Those particular years were interesting. Those were years of political movements and President Obama’s famous “Hope” campaign. While still being divided there was a sense of something potentially better happening, even in just one party. Fast forward four years and we arrive in 2016. After thousands of conversations from folks on both sides of the aisle at work (I work retail)and the countless hours on Facebook watching the political arguments erupt, there has been a consensus that there is way too much negativity in this electoral cycle. There are no messages of hope or positive influence without being at the expense of other human beings. This political season is all out war, and Americans are over it.

Stress filled dream

The electoral process for our beloved Republic has shown the deep ideological divide between citizens. In a recently released PEW poll:

“Fully 81% say that most supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump not only disagree over plans and policies, but also disagree on “basic facts.” Just 18% say that while Clinton and Trump supporters often differ over plans and policies, they can agree on basic facts.” (Pew poll here)

These statistics just back what most people already know through personal experience, that the basic American dream is being contested. Now such a claim may seem outlandish or preposterous and even downright cynical but let us look at this quote again. If 81% of voters agree that Trump and Clinton supporters cannot even agree on “basic facts” then how could either camp agree on what the American Dream looks like anymore? This is a disturbing thought to process at least.

How does this stat affect the American people?

Now tension and disagreement are a part of election processes. The personal nature of politics speak to many citizens as part of their innate self. We feel politics as personally as religion which is typically why most people try to avoid discussing them. However, in a campaign that has consistently used attack ads as a means of persuasion it is no surprise that the American public have reached the upper limits of their tolerance because of stress. In a report released by the American Psychological Association, they found that

” 52% of adults who participated in its survey acknowledged that this year’s presidential election is a big source of stress.” (Fox Business article here)

52% of adults, this a is a pretty staggering number. Let that sink in. A little over 50% of adults are being psychologically affected by this election. It’s gotten to the point that popular publications are creating articles to help Americans cope with the stress. We could ask ourselves where we went wrong? How did we become so ideologically divided? The amount of variables that will come into play begs for another blog post (or a semester on political history, pick your poison). No matter what though the answer needs to be answered, maybe just not until we have a breather after this election. Until this election is over treat yourself and those surrounding you as well and as kind as can be. Even after this horror show is over, be kind. Sometimes the world needs more of that over bickering, lest we all feel the consequences at the end.

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