I’ve seen enough, heard enough and been offended way too much.
I’ve turned on, tuned in and now I’m dropping out.
I have unofficially been diagnosed with 2016 Presidential Campaign Battle Fatigue and the only cure is to completely divest myself from the process. I won’t watch the final debate, I’ll change the channel during news segments and I’ll gladly scroll past any posting from either side that happen to appear on my social media news feeds.
It’s not that I don’t want to be informed about what is going on during the process — quite the opposite, really. I am dying to be informed. I’d love to know where the two candidates stand on the issues that affect me and my family most directly. I’d love to hear them both sit down and give detailed plans of what they plan on doing to improve what already is the greatest nation in the world.
But we’re not getting that. We are getting personal attacks. We are watching two people who went to be leaders of the free world drag one another through the mud. I have watched the first two debates and, when they were finished, I felt as though I was the one who needed a shower (which, given my general personal hygiene state, probably wasn’t an entirely inaccurate assessment … but that’s another column for another day).
I don’t want to hear any more about email servers. I don’t care who coughs more, who lost a shoe or who seems to have a bad case of the sniffles. I don’t want to hear any more about the sexual proclivities of two very old men. I get it. Neither candidate is particularly palatable — particularly depending on which side is doing the assessment. But like it or not, these are the two candidates we have.
For the past year, I’ve been made pretty well aware of what each candidate is incapable of doing — which, based on what I’m hearing, is a pretty lengthy list. I want to hear them talk about what they can do. I want to hear how they are going to add more jobs, make college and health care more affordable, and deal with the various threats — both foreign and domestic — to our every day safety.
And, for the love of God, just once I’d like to hear one of them get through one of those topics without the other one interrupting.
What makes it all worse is that from the anecdotal evidence I pick up on my myriad social media feeds, they are dragging it down into the mire right along with them. I don’t see anyone on Facebook or Twitter touting the views of the candidates they support — they seem far more interested in attacking the candidates they don’t support. Most of the time, they aren’t even original in doing it. They repost spiteful memes and links they find elsewhere on the Interwebs.
For crying out loud, people, if you are going to go on the attack, at least be original and come up with your own material. Of course, this is only the very least you can do. A better tact might be to actually say why you support your candidate, as opposed to attacking the other candidate. Of course, perhaps this is just a product of the two candidates themselves — maybe it truly is that hard to find redeeming qualities for either of them. Maybe it really is just easier to tear down the other person for his or her faults.
If that truly is the case, however, you can at least do it without making it personal against the people you call “friends” on social media. Hard as it may be to believe, it is possible to have a civil debate with someone whose opinions differ from your own. You can dislike someone’s political beliefs and still like the person. I hope I’m never going to be defined as a human being by which lever I pull on election day.
At this point, though, I don’t know if that can happen. Seems we’ve all crossed the Rubicon as far as that goes.
Which is why I’m done. I’ve made my choice and I’m sticking with it. I don’t need any more angst or hatred in my life between now and election day.
See you at the polls.
David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News, a division of Civitas Media. Contact him at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong.