It’s been a crazy year politically, but it’s been a crazy year for my view of politics also.
I went to small private college that was very political. Every class was political, every time someone raised their hands it was political. I was overdosing, so to deal with it I drew a firm line in the sand and stated that I didn’t care about politics. And I didn’t, I kept it up all four years. I only voted my freshman year for president and didn’t talk about politics or read about them. I blocked them out of my life everywhere but the classroom, and then rolled my eyes at how people couldn’t seem to talk about anything without them.
Then I graduated and I was no longer overdosing, because people don’t actually talk about politics all the time in the real world. People talk more about boyfriends, buying houses, sports, music. The topic would come up, I started caring a little more about the issues, because it was something you could debate, then close and move onto something else. It was nice. I felt at peace with it.
Then the 2016 election happened and ever since everyone has gone back to talking about politics 24/7 like I was in a classroom again. The issues come up more in real life, people debate more, and they get much angrier than before. And online? Online has become a toxic graveyard where people only seem to want to talk politics. The “talks” aren’t even that, they’re screaming matches, spattered with insults. Nobody can seem to agree to disagree and no one can seem to scroll or walk by something they dislike without commenting on it.
It’s dangerous surrounding yourself with that kind of content all the time, whether online or off. When people are hostile you get hostile. When faced with extremes our own opinions often become more extreme. We start to get to the point we can’t disconnect anything from politics.
And that is honestly not a good way to live. You’re always angry or upset about something. You start to only make friends with people who agree with you. You close yourself off and you let it eat you alive.
Over the past two months I’ve tried to step back like I did when I was in school. I unfollowed everyone on Facebook who posted only politics (It takes me ten minutes to scroll through my feed right now because I follow so few people). I did the same on Instagram and on Tumblr. I left some on Twitter for news, but kept it to a few accounts.
I did a cleanse, and though, like at school I can’t avoid the topic, I no longer drowning myself in all the noise and negativity that come with it. I hear the news and check in for the day, then I check back out. Staying informed without choking on information.
This post isn’t a warning or anything like that, it’s a suggestion. I find that the more we step back and realize how intense everything has become the better we get at handling it. The farther back we get from anger the closer we can get to solutions.