Election open season is almost closed – and I can’t wait

Casey Ledoux / Free Press Staff

Posted on November 05, 2012 in Henry's Head, Perspectives
By Andrew Henry

Election season is almost at an end – finally.

While I will certainly vote and I do enjoy learning about or discussing politics, I don’t like the high-tension atmosphere and opinionated Facebookers that accompany it. There’s no worse time for this during election season than the week before the election itself. “Vote this, not that” attitudes are most unwavering, and people are dogmatic. And I can’t wait until it’s all over.

People get hostile during election season, and lack of civility runs rampant, especially among Facebook users. Just in the past week, I’ve seen friends call other people “(expletive) communists,” “teabaggers,” “bandwagon loyalists,” and my personal favorite, “party-whipped hipster regimists.” Even I’ve done my fair share of political Facebooking although, like many others, I “try” to limit it. I do my best to catch lies and misrepresented information from both sides, but ultimately it’s just an example of being a small fish in a large, political ocean. I’m not saying that opinions shouldn’t be on Facebook, that’s impossible. It just seems that political season fosters more outspoken, brash ones.

Election fever gets the best of us, and nothing makes people volatile more than campaign commercials and ads. Just the other day, I heard a “No on Question 1” commercial on the radio, and I got pretty worked up. Typically, I try not to let controversial things such as that get to me, but I just gave in and let myself get heated about it. Election advertisements stir up the public and get them talking, a guerilla tactic that aids in spreading the word about the issue. It’s not admirable, but it’s effective. It also polarizes the voting public, though, resulting in both fervent supporters and outspoken objectors bickering to no end. If you’re like me, you’ve already hit the “hide” button on all of these people’s Facebook posts.

Another negative part of election season is the lack of concrete information sources. I understand that news sources like Huffington Post and CNN thrive on political content, but there’s no singular place that voters can go if they want complete factual candidate information. Obviously candidates post their stances or beliefs on their websites, but it’s more rhetoric than anything. Much of the online universe in regards to political candidates during election season is “he said this, but he’s lying” or something along those lines, so it’s difficult to get a grasp on what a candidate believes. More often than not, statements from candidates or commercial comments get lost in translation, which means confusion for voters, and that hampers any election on any level.

The bickering and infighting among candidates frays the nerves of the public, and it gets to the point where all we want to do is yell expletives at the people arguing. Polite disagreement is fantastic, something that I wholeheartedly support. But this blame game that we’re playing as a political public is unnecessary and stupid. I love the excitement of an election, and the potential to pass a bill like the legalization of gay marriage. But I’m sick and tired of the elevated levels of stress and tension, with everyone biting at one another’s necks. I’ll wake up on Nov. 7 thinking TGIF: Thank God It’s Finished.