I grew up in Illinois, and I was in third grade during the Regan Carter presidential election. As kids, we got to participate in an election as well. All of the children got to vote for the state animal. I don’t remember what animal I vote for or what animal won. I was excited to vote. I was in High School and drum major of the marching band when George Bush was running against Michael Dukakis. George Bush came to speak at our rival high school, and they requested that all the local bands come and perform.
We were excited to go, and I recall my Father calling the newspaper to get a picture of a picture. Our family wasn’t Republicans, but it was the President of the United States, and we would get a chance to see him. Our band got a place in the front, and I actually got to shake the President’s hand. At 18, I registered to vote, and I remember being excited to vote. My first Presidential Election was Clinton v Bush v Ross Perot. Over the year, I have voted in every election, I go to the polls early and love standing in line. Voting by mail or voting early seems like heresy to me.
Watching the news and reading about politics was a daily thing, and I loved it. But not anymore. Sadly I am divorcing politics. I have realized that it is so toxic, and people are so immature, mean, and disrespectful that I am disengaging. I am going to go to the polls on November 3rd, and I will vote. Yet I am done with pundits. I only read primary sources. If I want to learn about issues that I will vote on, I will go to the government websites. Opinion makers are no different than you or me. Critical analysis has died, the news media just wants to be correct, people want to yell louder, and louder.
It doesn’t make a difference. The news media doesn’t make me more informed; it makes me bitter and angry. Voting is important. Learning about the candidates is important, but the constant blaring of negativity isn’t. The news media is irresponsible; they deliberately choose to cover American politics to inflame division and increase ratings. The public good loses profits all the time. Voting is participating in democracy; giving my attention to away to the loudest people in the room isn’t.
At this point I feel like people should just go into the voting booth and make their choice and just simply not talk about politics unless you can be mature about it. For example, when friends tell you they are expecting a child, we know that the child came about because of an intimate act between the two. Most people don’t ask them about the night of conception. They say congrats on the new child. So let that be you guide. Tell your friends to go vote, but just like you don’t talk about your friends sex lives with them, let’s consider not talking about our voting lives if we can’t be mature about it.
I go for walks in the morning and listen to the birds, I go to the ocean and listen to the waves, and watch seals. I am still politically informed. I will still vote. Yet I have to say goodbye. The media tells us daily that the world is divided and tells us everything wrong every day.
Human suffering is real. Natural disasters are real. COVID is very real. Yet when I walk out my door in the morning, I see people wearing masks, people walking dogs, people exercising, men and women leaving for work. Delivery drivers are dropping off packages, construction workers building homes, and landscapers working on beautifying homes. Beauty exists in this world. Yet, for someone reason, beauty isn’t profitable, but guess what, beauty is healthy. There is zero research that says that constant exposure to negativity leads to increased joy or happiness. Still, it is profitable to drown us in it. Hopefully, in the future, we can begin to turn off negativity and choose beauty, and the good news is that we can. We all can.