So I deleted Facbeook and Twitter from my phone and I signed out of both on my computer. It's better this way. I really want to like all my friends when this season is over. I also want to be able to sleep peacefully and to stay off blood pressure medication for at least a few more years. I've ventured onto Facebook just one time since deleting the app, just for a second, in and out as quick as possible. I tried to keep blinders on and avoid that side bar that shows "what's trending" a.k.a "what's important to my friends and the greater Facebook community these days." Inevitably my eyes wandered over to those attention grabbing click bait and those hot button words jumped off the screen and screamed: I am Important! 10 New Ways the World is in Trouble! Be Informed of the Latest Drama So You Can Better Pen the Perfect 120 Character Sarcastic Retort! And immediately I could feel my blood boiling and my bullhorn beckoning, and so quick as I could I x-ed out of all the windows, and closed my laptop and did some deep breathing exercises until I cooled off.
Since then it's like a weight off my mind. I have released myself from the obligation to be in the know of all the headlines, all the sound bites, all the spin. It's not up to me to track which side of the battlefield my friends stand and from there predict the outcome of the election. I also know that a pithy comment or comeback on a Facebook post isn't going to sway anyone to "my side."
In this election there are no winners. We're all losers here. In the past I've always said that if you don't vote you can't complain about the outcome. But this is the one election where I've seriously considered not participating so I can raise my hands in the air and say I had nothing to do with this! I am not responsible!
But, even if I don't vote, Trump or Clinton will be elected. Even if I write in another candidate, or vote for a third party, Clinton or Trump will be elected. It's just the way this particularly stale and unappetizing cookie is going to crumble. I haven't exactly accepted it but I'm working on it.
How am I working on it? Well I deleted Facebook and Twitter for starters. But more than that I'm limiting the amount of news I watch because if I'm being honest it's way too much hate and negativity and too many reporters do a bad job of hiding their biases. That's not reporting, it's spouting opinions, but hey, journalists are humans to, can I blame them? Not really. But I can to choose take everything I hear with a grain of salt and formulate my opinions without their input.
Maybe you think I'm choosing to be ignorant, and uninformed, like I'm closing my eyes to the fire burning around me. But these days most of the news has nothing to do with the issues, or the policies that whoever is elected will work to put into practice, policies that will shape and change our country and directly affect you and me. We've gotten distracted from what an election is supposed to be about. We're lost in the woods, in all the noise, the social media wars, and the character assassinations (just kidding, there is no character in this election).
So I did my very darnedest (I swear I really, really tried) to set aside my preconceived and influenced political beliefs and pretend like I hadn't seen the latest scandal or wikileak, and I forced myself to spend time on both candidates websites (Trump | Clinton). I went to their respective pages where they outlined as simply as possible, where they stood on national security, the economy, the second amendment, health care, abortion, immigration. I read through them all and I educated myself on each candidates vision for our country.
I believe it's the safest and most responsible way to chose who to vote for. This isn't a popularity contest to see who's prettier or more likeable (the answer is neither). I have to pick the policies that are most important to me, the issues that rank highest in my mind and then chose the candidate who's platform best lines up with those points.
To be honest it's unlikely their websites will really change your decision on who you're voting for. But maybe you'll learn something you didn't know about the candidates, something that you missed in the hullabaloo of election season. Maybe you'll be able to respect or at least understand your friends' choices more once this is all over and we're stuck with the president we've elected. You see I believe two people can have different opinions and still be friends, no name calling or eye rolling. Maybe not, but I'll at least be able to provide a more educated defense of my chosen candidate when I inevitably give up and log back onto Facebook.