Surviving the Silly Season

If you’ve never heard of the term “Silly Season”, you’re about to. It’s the period of the final few weeks leading up to an election. Local, state, national, really doesn’t matter. It happens. Increasingly outlandish statements, caustic verbal battles, and preaching-to-the-choir on steroids.

It’s alarming and vitriolic, with its shock only superseded by its predictability.
Here’s a single qualifier about it:
It doesn’t matter your political preference. It happens on all sides.
And, at least in my imperfect observation, seems to be increasingly more constant, rather than episodic. Seasonal, unfortunately, is becoming sustained.
So, in the midst of the hyper-partisan everything, a few recommendations.
1) Debate passionately, but don’t mock.
Mockery does two things: 1) it makes for very shareable material, and 2) it reveals the mocker’s insecurity.
Strong arguments don’t require insults.
Mockery’s audience is always the convinced. It’s loud timidity, intellectually weak, and has almost no persuasive power.
Let’s refuse to engage in it. Let’s argue better.
2) Debate face-to-face.
Show me someone who’s constantly arguing online about politics and I’ll show you someone who probably doesn’t have a lot of converts.
That’s not meant as a dig about a person, but an observation about people.
There’s something sobering about sitting down face-to-face with someone who looks at things differently and talking about those differences. At the end of the day, neither mind may be changed, but I’m almost certain, even in a small way, the person may look a little less like the enemy. Is it naive to believe in common ground? Perhaps. But closer proximity makes grenades less likely, and humanity more apparent.
Let’s ditch digital histrionics. Listen and talk. I dare you.
3) Don’t base your life on your politics.
Political stuff is important. It affects a lot of people. But there are things more important. Things that you and I have so much more control over.
Take back the remote from the news cycle. Be informed but not consumed. Your mood, your outlook, your attitude… you control these.
Please, vote. But remember, your side’s gonna win, and your side’s gonna lose. Be excited or sad, but please, live.
We’re in the season. We can’t stop it. But may the absurdity of the moment, temporary or not, remind us of more important things. Things far more sacred, far more permanent, and far more significant than the result of a campaign.

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