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In short let’s not start the conversation someone else may not want to finish.

Presidential Campaign Is Ruining People’s Quality of Life

I don’t know about you, but everywhere I go I hear the same thing – “I wish this presidential stuff was over!” This is not just a few people; I am talking about numerous people in different levels of involvement in my life – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Some of these individuals are friends; others are known professionally, and some are acquaintances or people I see going about my daily routine.

donhill3-foxThe problem is that there is so much division felt in the office, at sporting events, and even in our own homes. There are spouses who want different candidates, and their children sometimes take sides. Then there are friends and their children, and it just spirals completely out of control if the conversation turns to politics, and lately this always seems inevitable.

Another source of angst is the social media aspect of the campaign. Facebook has become a battleground – either you are standing with one candidate or the other and, if not, you are the enemy. It is really rather absurd but it is happening there and on Twitter and other online venues. “You don’t like my candidate? I’m unfriending you!” It’s sort of like the old playground “I’m not your friend anymore” crap, only it’s worse because we are adults.

olives 2Going to a cocktail party now seems like something to dread rather than enjoy. They say “in vino veritas,” but you don’t expect “in vino venom” as you sample hors d’oeuvres and sip a martini. There is always the guy who seems ready to engage, ready to get things going.

“So, who are you voting for?” he will say rather obnoxiously.

“I haven’t decided,” is usually an easy out, but not with this fellow.

“Come on, you’re voting for Trump, right?”

“No, I’m really not sure yet.” This usually works, right? Not with this guy.

He’ll laugh like sarcastically, letting you know that he doesn’t believe you. “I know, everyone who says that is voting for Trump.”

So, now that you can’t get out the easy way, you go for the real truth. “I am an Independent, so I always vote my conscience, and right now I can’t see voting for either of the main candidates.”

His eyes will bulge and he will say, “Oh, so if you vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, you’re actually voting for Trump anyway!”

Now you’ve about had it; you are done being polite. You take your drink and that now cold pig in the blanket and, as you walk away, the guy gets all Jack Nicholson on you yelling, “See, you people can’t handle the truth!” You don’t turn around; you just keep walking.

Now, this is an example of what has been happening lately. It can be in the supermarket, the coffee shop, or even in Walgreens – the venue almost doesn’t matter. People are ready to engage and are armed for battle.

Sometimes I see the guy in a red Trump hat, and I turn and walk the other way, even if the item I want is down that aisle. Other times I see people wearing Clinton shirts or buttons, and I do the same. Like a political version of Bartleby, I just prefer not to – and I wish people would respect that.

At this time I cannot watch American TV news anymore, because the same version of divisiveness in the real world is happening on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC. The talking heads are yelling at one another; the hosts are biased and spouting their opinions, and the hope for “news” is just wishful thinking. When I do want some actual news coverage, I turn to my local cable news for area stories and the BBC for what’s happening in the world.

albatrossIt really has reached a point that the pettiness and vindictiveness of the presidential campaigns have affected the quality of life for many people. Like an albatross around our collective necks, it weighs down social situations, work environments, online interactions, and family functions. It is an unfair punishment for a crime we didn’t commit, but we’re saddled with it anyway.

As we move closer to Labor Day and what follows after that – the homestretch of the campaigns heading toward Election Day – I wish that people would just respect others for having an opinion or not having one. I wish that people would not try to take every opportunity to start a debate on for whom to vote, and I would hope that general decency could take the place of acrimony.

In short let’s not start the conversation someone else may not want to finish, and if you do engage in some kind of political discourse, let civility reign and respect the other person’s opinion – even if that person is choosing not to vote on November 8. Everything will be over after that day, but the wounds inflicted before it may take a long time to heal, or may fester and grow worse afterwards.

It is up to us not to ruin friendships, alienate colleagues, or fracture our families. The best bet is to ease up on everyone around you and keep the peace. Life is too short for anything less.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written well over 500 articles; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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  1. Dr Joseph S Maresca

    This election could mirror the 1060 election; wherein, both candidates JFK and Nixon became future presidents. That would mean that Clinton and Trump could become future presidents.

    If the election mirrors 1968, the outcome could depend upon where the Bernie supporters cast their ballot. In 1968, VP Humphrey lost very narrowly and that’s probably due to the scarcity of votes from supporters of Senators Mc Carthy and Kennedy.

    Turnout could be the deciding factor in this election. And so, enthusiasm may be the determining factor. The debates could be crucial because they will be a forum for contrasting the candidates. Some people say that Nixon may have won in 1960, if the debates were a radio forum. A TV debate favored JFK because he had a more commanding presence on stage.

    Another factor lurks in the background. Voters have been reluctant to give the same party a third consecutive term in office. The exceptions were FDR and Reagan. FDR won 4 consecutive terms with Truman giving the Democrats 5 consecutive terms.

    Reagan won 2 consecutive terms and Bush was elected in ’88 giving the Republicans a third consecutive term. They could not get a fourth consecutive term because voters tend to be more critical when the same party seeks to go beyond two consecutive terms.

    This November will be difficult to predict from previous history and the see-saw situation we’re seeing in the current election cycle. The other candidates could be a factor too. Gary Johnson is polling very close to 10% and Dr Stein MD is polling at 3% but that figure could go up to 5% or beyond.

    • I have no personal knowledge of the 1960 election, but I know from my grandparents and parents that Kennedy won the debates because he came off as cool and calm while Nixon was sweating profusely and seemed rattled.

      2016 has seen disenfranchised people want to have a voice – whether for Sanders or Trump. The fact that the Dems sabotaged Sanders has left many of us feeling angered. Johnson and Dr. Stein at least provide alternatives, and some publications are predicting that these two may pull in up to 1/3 of the vote. I don’t know whom gets hurt by this more, but many of us find Trump and Clinton undesirable and don’t care. A Gary Johnson or Jill Stein upset would be most welcome.

      Personally, I too wish it were over. I have never seen a race descend to this level of personal attacks. It is also making a negative impression on children, whom we teach to never say or do they see the candidates saying and doing.

      November 8th can’t come soon enough for many of us.

  2. Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    Immigration policies are being hotly contested in this election cycle. In the past half century, the birth rate has been declining in the US. As a consequence of this decline, the US will continue to rely upon immigration. The question involves how many immigrants will come to this country, as well as, screening criteria, assimilation, vetting and deportation.

    The idea of building a boundary between the US and Mexico was envisioned in the Secure Fence Act of 2006 signed by President Bush.

    “Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades, and therefore, illegal immigration has been on the rise. We have a responsibility to address these challenges, we have a responsibility to enforce our laws, we have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously,” Potus Bush said. Retrieved from { }

    And so, a boundary was articulated a decade before this campaign. Mr. Trump has built upon the initial vision to discuss the need for a wall. The boundary is
    budgeted for in the 2006 bill. The idea that Mexico will pay for the wall is purely theoretical. Mexico pays for the wall by assuming more deportation costs, as well as, costs of containing illegal immigrants and processing them through the Mexican Courts to their country of origin (if one can be established).

    Mexico will be under pressure to control illegal immigration from countries like
    Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. In addition, Panama will be under
    pressure to control illegal immigration from the northern part of South America.
    i.e Columbia and Venezuela

    The wall across the US will have gaps. For instance, the Rio Grande is one obvious gap and there are more. In conclusion, Mexico pays for the wall theoretically by incurring greater costs of deportation as do other countries like Panama. Once the wall is built, deportation costs should go down over the long term as far fewer illegal immigrants enter the US. Our social safety net costs may decrease, as well as, law enforcement costs since fewer illegal immigrants will cross our borders.

    Deportation is a problem for any country because the ultimate question is deportation to what country? Currently, the US has over 10MM illegal immigrants. Once identified, the next logical question is the country of origination. In the 15 years from ’00 to ’14, less than 5 million have been deported. Of this number, approximately 55% were convicted criminals. Retrieved from { }