Many people are worn out after the 2016 election cycle. Is it time for you to rethink how you approach politics?
It’s the start of a new year, so there will be quite a few people out there talking about resolutions – eat healthier, exercise more, be more productive, and so on. Everyone means well, and some people might stick to and achieve those goals, but it’s also become a dubious badge of honor to brag about breaking resolutions early on.
Personally, I’m not making any promises to myself or others. While people talk about 2016 being a rough year, I’ve kept generally silent about that, at least on the personal level. It’s a new year, and I’m in “business as usual” mode, which has involved what some people might consider a breakable new year’s pledge. I’ve mostly stopped groaning about the negativity out there, and have simply started to avoid it. Life is short, and it’s not worth wasting time telling people who are hell bent on being hateful and miserable that they need to stop.
Because I read and write quite a bit on politics, I’m generally surrounded by negativity. It is seemingly endless, and goes nowhere. Sure, writing venomous diatribes about one’s opposition might make one feel better for a few moments, but it’s necessarily temporary. That venom does nothing, ever. It doesn’t sway anyone who was undecided. It doesn’t win the respect or agreement of the opposition. Because it is just words, not action, it does literally nothing.
Maybe some people will resolve to stop promoting this kind of content this year. Some might be like me, slowly disassociating with people who regularly share and spew hateful nonsense just to make themselves feel more important. Perhaps that might seem arrogant, but when one really thinks about it, after stripping away the negativity, there is rarely any underlying information that is useful.
Around here, we try to help people think about politics on a more personal level. What is happening in Washington is far less important than what is happening in the various state capitals, county seats, and local government meetings. The latest outrage caused by a Trump tweet is meaningless in comparison with a community facing financial problems because of a desperate need to replace a school building. While a debate over the merits of a property tax increase is boring in comparison with the circus that is the Beltway, it’s far more likely to have immediate effects on the people of a community.
This past election was arguably over fear of more economic problems, and irony is that so many people are focused on the spectacle that national politics has become when that part of government generally has the least effect on people’s daily lives. The exceptions are worth talking about, like the Affordable Care Act, but while people are supposedly concerned with their “bottom lines,” they are focused on issues that have nearly no effect on it.
So, I’m just not making any resolutions, no promises, and will just keep on clearing the negativity from my social media accounts. I’ll focus on solutions to problems whenever I can, as opposed to getting mired only in the nonsense. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get a few converts – save some people from the noise that drowns out reason. Hopefully, you’re one of those people.