I stayed up way too late last night watching the 2nd US Presidential debate and the hours of post-debate media spin afterwards. This is the first presidential election of my lifetime that I can be involved in where I actually think there is a substantive difference between the two candidates (by this I mean that I believe the next 4 years will follow different paths). Sure, Bush/Gore was one of those but you couldn’t have really predicted 9/11 happening at the time.
The current coverage and public discourse is fascinating to me. People take on these serious facades as they talk about politics. Everyone pretends to be serious about the election and their opinions. Even the class clowns only joke about it in serious fashion. “Vote Trump and lead us into Nuclear War!” “Vote Clinton and the 2nd Amendment will be Stripped From the Constitution!” It’s almost as if no other race matters and we can be perfectly objective throughout all of this.
Yet we are as serious as we are when our team makes the playoffs. It’s life or death for now but after it’s over we’ll all be friends again (unless your life sadly revolves around politics). For 90% of our days, this debate is overly serious and leads to bad feelings for no reason. We tear each other down simply because we want everyone to know how right and valuable our particular opinions are yet 40% of the country can’t even name the Vice Presidential candidates. We’re seriously supporting our team come hell or high water.
If we treated the Presidential election the way we do everything else in our lives, it would still be important but not this life-or-death urgency. Come November 5th we’d do a few Google searches, ask our intelligent friends that we trust what is really going on and then head to the polls armed with about the same amount of information as we have today but none of the emotional baggage. Almost all of the best decisions we make in life come from cool, rational decision making. Anger gets us in more trouble than any other emotion yet that is the one driving us toward November (both Democrats, Republicans and Pastafarians (look it up for a good time)).
We have spent our lives developing processes to make good decisions. Why do we throw that all away every four years for Presidential elections?