Political Overload

Elisabeth Oster, Senior Staff Writer

Elisabeth Oster

There is a point when politics begins saturating daily life from the incredible overload of constant argument and confusion. I personally dream of the day when I can get through a meal without politics being brought up.
Although I fully believe that it is important to be an informed citizen, this election has reached the point where there is too much coverage from the public and the news alike.
Normally, presidential elections are regarded as really beginning when the candidates are nominated, but this is not a normal election. The 2016 election has been looming over the American population since before even the primary and caucus debates.
According to a study led by the GDELT Project, television networks have mentioned Donald Trump 131,689 times and Clinton 74,026 times in the past 30 days alone. This statistic does not even include the countless information thrown at the public through websites, news publications, and social media.
The fact of the matter is this constant stream of information and debate is unrelated to the political beliefs of each candidate which should lead voters to their ultimate decision.
According to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, only 11 percent of the primary coverage focuses on the candidates’ political positions, leadership abilities, and professional histories.
During the election, the media has grabbed at any information regarding the candidates imaginable. The avalanche of media coverage takes away from essential facts that an informed citizen requires to make a responsible decision when voting.
How many people actually know the candidates’ platforms when there are constant insults and scandals to pay attention to? Citizens have begun making their decision based on heightened emotion instead of which candidate best matches their political views.
The media is not the only culprit that is responsible for the overwhelmed citizen. People time and time again feel the need to discuss the most interesting and bizarre topic they can think of: the election.
In a world where there is increasingly significant polar opposite feelings, it is hard to stay focused on one’s own feelings with so many other opinions being constantly expressed. Both parties are tested this year as their own definitions disappears. Because of the divide between voters, there are increased arguments and talk of the election in general.
With millions of Americans filled with comments of resentment, anger, and frustration, it’s nearly impossible to have one conversation that does not have an undertone of the current political situation.
The overload of media exposure and strong opinions of this election season has been and can do major damage to the views towards democracy and the American spirit. According to the American Psychological Association 52% of Americans view the election as a “significant source of stress” in their daily lives.
In a country that is a successful democracy, feelings of pride should be felt as that ballot is cast, not stress.
There is a noticeable self-consciousness displayed by the voter. With such an opinionated population, no one wants to be verbally attacked for their choice this election year.
Although there is no solution for this tumultuous election, there are ways to lessen the presence of politics. This can be done by trying your best to unplug from media platforms and keep your views as private as possible.
I am not suggesting you to turn away from the election, as it is everyone’s job as an American citizen to stay informed.
What would be even better is if for just one day, everyone could just focus on other aspects of life and not talk about the drama that politics has been creating. Although this might be a relatively simple request, I am afraid it is only wishful thinking