Today, a third of us are delighted, another third are depressed, and 40 percent have no idea what just happened. The 2022 midterms, possibly the most important in our history, are over, and I’ll bet my next pension check, the lawsuits have begun to fly.
I’m writing this column a week ahead, and I’m predicting how we’re responding, but not the outcome of the elections. I’m almost sure I know how they will turn out, but there’s always that wild outside possibility that gives us normal humans false hope.
I know that the certainty that comes with our point of view is our interpretation of the external world and not the whole picture. However, acknowledging this truth offers an enormous range of possibilities to explore the hidden ground beyond our certainty.
In simpler terms, this means we have a choice. We can choose to make ourselves deliriously happy. We can choose to sit and bawl in our beer. We can choose to accept the outcome and move on. Hopefully, we’ve done what we could, and now we can relax and think about how the outcome will affect our lives and loved ones.
The outcomes will not resemble the promises of changes and improvements or protection from the imagined fears that infected the airwaves for months. These were all campaign garbage used by opportunists to promote their agendas without regard for the negative consequences on the rest of us. It was all political BS designed to get us to love our side and hate the others. There was no intention to fulfill promises or protect us from all the imagined evils they conjured up.
Convincing yourself, you have choices won’t be easy. Nothing feels as certain as our point of view, especially when it is constantly reinforced by whatever media source you allow into your head. Moreover, the automaticity and familiarity of our subjective experience are almost impossible to overcome. And the feeling of friendship and affiliation with like-minded people makes the whole experience painfully challenging to leave.
Tribalism is a genetic adaptation that allowed us to survive in the ancient past. It still feels like we need it today when all the campaign hype continually reminds us those horrible other folks are trying to destroy your country.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, it’s way past time. We get played like pianos by political strategists who know the exact location of all our emotional triggers. Then all they need to do is create the “party lines” and have their politicians repeat them.
It’s easy to recognize a party line. It’s the answer to any question asked of a candidate. Here’s an example. The interviewer asks, “did your team win the World Series.” The candidate answers, “My opponent and his party are destroying the country.”
None of this campaign nonsense makes any difference in candidates’ plans if they become incumbents. They’ll dial for dollars, their staff will tell them how to vote, and the farce will continue. But it’s not entirely without consequences. The aftermath is the loss of friendships, the mistrust of our neighbors, and the destruction of our society.
Opportunists exploit every circumstance to gain an immediate advantage, and our political system is a hodgepodge of opportunists. They serve their own purposes and seem to have flexible moral standards when winning an office. So, do you want to participate in the destruction of our society and your peace of mind? If not, remember, you have a choice regarding how you respond to all this craziness. So, please make up your mind today; no matter who won, you won’t allow the tragic comedy we call politics to affect your peace of mind. And for heaven’s sake, let’s don’t abandon each other. We’re not the enemies they say we are. We need each other more than ever.