Is It Difficult To Ignore Politics/Election Despite Wanting To?

I’ve been up since 3:30am, and for the last 5 hours, I’ve spent about 95% of the time on politics. Is there gum I can chew? A patch to put over my arm?

I keep telling myself to do something else, but I find myself reverting immediately, whether its online, or talking with friends on the phone or online (a little like COVID)… Sometimes we start out the conversation by letting each other know we should avoid it, and stick to music developments, movies, life, etc., but I guess it’s all related.

The way I look at it, is that it’s like I’ve been watching a 20-year movie (when I started working in politics, off and on) – you’re going to want to see the end; the finish line. But it also seems the campaigning never ends.

I’m also worried that the election results won’t be complete within 48 hours… I don’t want a repeat of 2000, where the American people spoke — all 9 of them!

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No it’s not difficult. Most people aren’t into day to day politics and politicking because they’ve got more important things that touch their lives in a real tangible manner. Work, family, friends, household stuff, activities and hobbies.

For people like us who consume it politics is in many respects our hobby. It takes time to keep up with things on a day to day basis. Most of it is bluster that fundamentally doesn’t really change our lives.

This election has people of all stripes paying attention. But that always happens in the horserace of the presidency every four years. The SCOTUS nomination has people paying attention because it would reshape the balance of the court for a generation. Most SCOTUS cases are absolutely benign and no one cares about them. But that one big call on Roe v Wade or healthcare or immigration dictates the law of the land as per those big issues.

I don’t watch much TV or Online Youtube Punditry at all. I like to read the news of the day and form my opinion that way. My job, pre-lockdown, involved long days however so often I just wanted to go into relax mode at the end of a working day. Read a book, watch sports, chill with family etc. I can spend a few hours painting and being in a different world of imagination. I can spend a few hours playing sports or enjoying a film or playing a puzzle game like Sudoku. Find a hobby that’s something you are a participant rather than an observer and time flies.

You don’t have to be obsessed with the intricacies of politics that really mean nothing. You don’t have to think you ought to be the first one to know something. Obamagate …did it ever get revealed what’s that about? Because, I as someone who is politically active, never gave a damn about it. I also didn’t read the Mueller Report in its full. So people whose lives don’t revolve around politics are probably even more blissful in ambivalence.

Where I work – typical office floor, cubicles, large fairly open space – there are two guys, an aisle over, who talk partisan (right wing) politics – every conspiracy fantasy, every talking point, every Trump tweet, these guys are drinking the Kool-Aid* by the gallon – every damn day and for hours. And I can’t help but hear every…freakin’…word. Don’t these guys have real jobs? Jeeze.

(*I know it was actually Flavor Aid at Jonestown…)

I’ve read a lot of people (usually poor and/or some kind of minority) opine that they couldn’t “avoid politics” if they wanted to, since there are hot button topics that would directly impact their literal ability to live life in this country, and that being able to “ignore” it is, to use a term that some people hate, a form of privilege. I sympathize with that perspective.

At the same time, I sympathize with OP’s perspective too. It’s hard to be frustrated and worried and angry all the time, even if you are being directly affected by it. If you’re not, then no matter how compassionate and empathetic you are, it’s even harder to work through it.

It’s a tough dichotomy. I’m not sure there’s a right answer.