Surviving This Election

By: Lorraine Iverson

I’ve always been a political animal. I’ve done fund raisers and marched and shared my opinion/candidates of choice with anyone that was either digitally connected or within earshot of me. I became so overwrought during one election year I actually came down with shingles. Now that’s over-over-zealous and just nuts. 

But this time I’m not sure I can endure it. I’m already sick to death of the screaming and mud-slinging and we’ve got over a year to go. I want to believe that I’m just a more evolved and sensitive human being but I think I’m just getting too old to put up with copious amounts of bovine excrement! The vitriol literally makes my skin crawl. So I turn off the TV or delete the posts. That works until you have lunch with someone who wants to talk about what’s going on. Then you’re stuck. And, I find myself getting sucked in and taking a stand because I definitely have my opinions and if you don’t agree - well, you’re obviously misinformed or stupid. And we’re off and running again. Well, I am done, complete, finis. 

Resisting the urge

So what to do - stay home in the silence and don’t talk to anyone for the next 14 months? Politics seems to come up in every conversation I have. Apparently everyone I know is a political animal. If I suggest that we don’t discuss politics it is assumed that I’m in disagreement with whatever they just said. Then they get pissy about that. I’m never going to survive this election without moving out of the country.

I found when making plans with friends if I know their political proclivities I preemptively suggest that we avoid discussing politics. That way I can avoid getting hooked in by someone’s enthusiasm or ignorance. A few weeks ago I had breakfast with a friend and was happy to report that I had not watched the debate the previous night. So that was a short conversation. And we are of the same political persuasion so there’s no tension but I still get too fired up. I’m trying to mellow out in my old age, put down the torch and just cruise.

But even my husband is adding fuel to the fire, oy vey! His politics have gone around the bend in all of this too. For the first time in all the years we’ve known each other, I’m afraid we may be voting for different parties. Is that grounds for divorce? So I’ve nowhere to hide from this merde. Politics has even invaded my happy home. I’m really trying not to get worked up about this but it looks like I am right now. 

Ok - stop, take ten deep breaths and let’s look at solutions. Obviously the election is in full swing with new horses entering the race every day. It’s getting more contentious every day. It seems impossible to avoid unless you live on a mountain top in Ted Kaczynski's old cabin and you never go anywhere. Then I guess the election is the least of your concerns. But short of that scenario how do we keep ourselves calm, learn enough to make intelligent voting decisions and not strangle our nearest and dearest? Really, how do we do that? Actually that cabin is beginning to sound rather inviting……

You gotta turn it off

Seriously now folks - here’s what I’m going to try. I’m going to continue not watching politics on TV. The hysteria of the broadcast media just feeds the frenzy. I solemnly swear to unsubscribe to every political site I now get email from. All 85 of them. I will stop responding to Facebook taunts from my political junky friends. I may have to just block some of those folks. I will only get my political information in writing. I will read platforms and policy papers. I know that I am never going to vote for XYZ party so I don’t have to read their rhetoric. I just have to get through my own party’s public relations and make my decision about the primary. After that I can just binge on Netflix until November. I’ll cast my vote and be done with it.

My peace, serenity and blood pressure are all going to be a lot better off without me getting involved in the political circus.  I’m going to try to keep this up after the election too. Maybe. Unless I just have to jump in and try to save the world again. 

Is there a Politics Anonymous group? I think I need some help…….

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Rain Iverson has traveled many paths and is always recreating herself. As a business woman, she co-founded and managed a technology public relations firm and one of the first computer conferencing software companies. She has served on non-profit boards, retired at 50 to become an artist and then 10 years later came out of retirement to become CFO of her son's company. Rain is the matriarch of a large, blended family with a great husband, children, grandchildren and lots of extended/blended family members.