Bracing For More Embarrassment

I am noticing that the election is negatively impacting my mental health. I spent the better part of last evening in a state of high anxiety. My son, who is fantastically smart, and very different from me in one major way, made a post on Facebook with the following premise: Trump is worse than Hillary. Therefore, the only smart and logical thing to do is to vote for Hillary, despite her flaws and foibles, because Trump is the Devil. Moreover, there is no solace or purpose served in voting third party, as this slate of candidates is so bad, identifying Hillary as the one most likely to achieve something good for the country is the only patriotic and morally supportable thing to do.

I responded.

Now, I plan to avoid replaying the discussion/dialogue/argument in this essay. Instead, I’d rather lament the disruption of my dispostion as a consequence of the pathetic and worrisome nature of this election. I am serious when I say that the process of trying to pose arguments, or to refute claims, or to develop points of contention, actually promoted a higher sense of anxiety. I made no progress is arguing with my son. In fact, I felt awful because the message he received was so different from the one I wanted to send.

I am distressed because I have no faith in any of the candidates. I am distraught that I don’t have a way to mitigate the animosity between the factions as they relate to my own life. In truth, in the heat of text message or Facebook debate, I have been insulted overtly, or by innuendo, by friends whom I have known for four decades. My own son has been hurt and disappointed in me, and he is honestly one of the smartest people I know. His intellect has not been able to discern the message I have intended to send as to reach an amicable state of disagreement.

I have usually been praised for my ability to communciate clearly and to make myself understood. Prior to this election, I have only rarely had to resort to the ‘let’s agree to disagree’ outcome. This year, the vitriol and volatility has escalated to the point where we have no chance to reach even a state of tolerant detente. The truth is that the last ten to fifteen years has nurtured an environment that does not accommodate disparate viewpoints. All things are attacked as if all choices are mutually exclusive of one another.

In the end, the choice of who to vote for, and the rationale as to why one choice is better than another, has become less important. Instead, the most important thing is for us to stop being manipulated by a constant barrage of media that is sending the message that the sky is falling in all cases. If Trump wins, the left side of the aisle is convinced that the world as we know it will end. If Hillary wins, the conservatives are convinced that we will never be able to stop the downward spiral that has engulfed us.

I hope that the system is as resilient and as strong as I think it is. I hope that the checks and balances serve the purpose of protecting the republic, and of instilling some sense of pride in the milennials whom we need to move to the forefront in running the country.

I hope that the 9th Justice is vetted, approved, and appointed and that the Court Justices make their decsions on the basis of the law, rather than on the basis of partisan politics. We have seen Justices do just that in the past, and we will likely need to have justices who lean left align themselves with the conservative side in instances where that is the precedent set by law. If the court leans far left in all cases at all times while they select the cases for each session, then our system is failing, and recovery will be difficult and slow.

I need the election to be over. I need Hillary (who will win) to check her ego at the door and make effort to create and develop plans that will decrease the animosity.