Leading up to the 2016 election I would have considered myself an amateur political junkie. I knew who all the major players were, knew the issues and who was taking a stand and who was beating around the bush, and had favorite and least-favorite canditates for the presidency. I laughed at the ridiculous antics during debates, cried at the thought of losing Obama, watched the late-night commentary, SNL skits, had CNN on in the background at least six hours a day, gleefully took part in political conversations with friends and family, and kept up with shit in general.
Since then I have done a complete 180. Now I couldn’t tell you who more than a couple candidates for 2020 are, haven’t watched a minute of news in years, and either go mute or politely excuse myself from conversations when they turn political. And let me tell you, I feel so much better than I ever did before.
I’m not advocating that everyone does what I’m doing. In fact I’m fairly certain that would be disasterous—exactly what those who seek power for the sole purpose of personal gain would want. We need people who actually care about other people to take an active interest in politics and policy; hopefully if enough do they can wrest this country from the wealthy and shape it into a something that works well for the rest of us too.
But for me at least, when I’m following politics, and everything is going so wrong, and the talking heads on the TV are constantly talking in circles around the actual issues, the amount of irritation it adds to my life and the 5-10 points on my blood pressure does not seem worth it. So I’m out. I’m going to read my fiction, watch movies, play old video games, and pretend that politics no longer exists. When it comes time to vote, I’ll trust my partner to tell me which boxes to tick.
For everyone else who’s remaining a part of the fray, please stay informed. Always seek opinions outside of your echo chambers and comfort zones. Listen to what everyone has to say, but don’t trust anyone blindly, especially if their livelihood depends on people agreeing with them. If I’m feeling up to it I might resume my old blood pressure meds and check back in after the 2020 election.
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