Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Anger in the Age of Entitlement: Post Election Stress Disorder

By Steven Stosny in Anger in the Age of Entitlement

National elections are tough times for those of a bi-partisan nature, not to mention a blogger who comments on the negative effects of emotional pollution. I'd like to think that we are the silent majority, those of us who long for civility and respect in the discourse of decent people presenting their vision and plans for the nation. After all, poles say that the public is fed up with negative campaigning with its misleading and often downright false advertising. We're appalled at the costs of this election cycle, which exceeds that of the Revolutionary War and the duration that nearly doubles our participation in World War I.

This election has been so disappointing because it held out promise to be better. Both candidates really seemed above personal and negative attacks. The use of the military word, "campaign," to describe political contests is apt; the first casualty in war and politics is truth.

The maelstrom of the election has been personal for me, as my dearest friends and closest relatives are at the extreme - though not radical or reactionary - ends of the political spectrum. My inbox is bombarded by negative points about the policies and characters of both candidates and their running mates. Passionate arguments that would not, to be kind, pass peer review on their merits are put forth by good and bright people. I understand that certainty is an emotional, not an intellectual state that requires limiting the amount of information considered and that political campaigns are designed to exploit bias rather than reveal it. Still, I wonder how they can be so certain about such enormously complex problems. But then I am probably confusing personal tastes and biases with an objective and informed analysis of problems. Political passions are closer to, "I don't know anything about art, but I know what I don't like." And I am no better for trusting those who are the most certain the least.

Part of my post election stress disorder may be due to the fact that I'm vastly overworked. I specialize in couples living in resentment, anger, or emotional abuse. Two conditions greatly increase demand for my services: economic crises and national elections. When they occur together, it's like a perfect storm of family contention. I have written previously in this blog about how so many people download and recycle the negativity in their environment and ultimately take it out on the closest people to them. A web of emotions connects us all, for better or worse. I long for a politician to realize that to make the country stronger, we must love the people closest to us, respect and tolerate the differences of everyone, and let compassion spread through the web of emotion that connects us all, for the better.

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