I love campaign season. I also love root canals and live organ donation.
I’m not anti-American, or anti-politics. But I am anti -“EVERYONE SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER FOR 18 MONTHS BECAUSE THEY REALLY WANT YOU TO SEE THEIR PERSPECTIVE AND CHANGE YOUR MIND!!!!!!!!”
[Tweet “There is literally no less effective way to create mutual understanding than by shouting, finger-pointing, arguing, accusing and shaming. – via @jessbarretttn”] (I’m using literally in the way that word was originally intended.)
I’m not saying that yard signs, brochures, door hangers, commercials and the like are completely ineffective. Sometimes, they do a pretty decent job of explaining the views, beliefs and character of the candidates. (Okay, if these folks had some character, I’m sure that would be included in those brochures.)
What I dread beyond the annual pap smear, are those commercials wherein each candidate drags the other through the mud, over and again, furthering the divide among us all.
So why, then, are candidates going to bother to trudge down the road of smear campaigns and opening one another’s closets full of skeletons? Because it works.
In 2010, Scientific American published an article explaining the psychology behind why many people fall for smear campaigns. You can read that article here. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-smear-campaigns-work/ .
The long and short of it is because a smear campaign aims to separate us from the candidate more so than we may have already been. For example, the younger you are, the older the opposition will try to make their competition appear to you (the article cites this being done with regard to John McCain in the 2008 Presidential Election).
I’m just guessing here, but I can almost bet that those opposed to Hillary are going to try to make her appear less feminine, maternal and compassionate, in an effort to separate her from the average woman. Or, those opposed to Donald Trump (who has NOT as of this publication thrown his hat in the ring…just much speculation over that possibility) would try very hard to position him as a greedy, rich, opportunist who has absolutely nothing in common with the 99%.
Fine, so what, right? Let them do what they need to do and we’ll all get on with our lives after the election’s over, and we can go back to watching less crappy commercials.
What tends to happen is that many people find themselves voting for the lesser of the evils, which is essentially just voting against someone, not for anyone. We end up with people in charge who almost no one trusts or believes in.
What to do, then?
You’re smart. Use your head. Educate yourself beyond your neighbor’s yard signs and your drunk uncle’s opinions. Pay attention to what issues matter to you and which candidates support the issues in the same way you do. It may take some digging to get away from all the negative press, but the information is out there.
Above all, don’t forget your decency and humanity this election season. I mean it. Be nice.