I could not wait for November 8th, 2016 to happen. My world was held captive as the mainstream media, and the internet actively vomited unsolicited opinions for years. Even if I did not want to hear what they had to say, it was forced upon me. Years of that got old very quickly.
Federal politics is something I try to stay away from scribing about for the world to read. This is mainly for personal reasons which have nothing to do with the intent of this article. However, I did think it would be an interesting idea to do some open reflective thinking, observe my life, and discover what this last presidential election in the U.S.A. taught me about myself. I remember reading a John Maxwell book years ago on "Thinking For A Change." In this simple book the author talks about the importance of reflective thinking, and for some reason, it always stuck with me. Here are a few points that Maxwell expounds upon in his book.
- Reflective thinking gives you true perspective.
- Reflective thinking gives emotional integrity to your thought life.
- Reflective thinking increases your confidence in decision making.
- Reflective thinking clarifies the big picture.
- Reflective thinking takes a good experience and makes it a valuable experience.
Also, I thought this quote from this book would be relevant.
"I try never to allow a major event to pass without having a few moments of reflection aftward."
~ John Maxwell
I hope you choose to join me on my journey as I jump into some reflective thinking.
So here I sit, disillusioned, emotionally weary, and genuinely hoping for the best outcome for the U.S.A. post-election. Thinking back over the past months, it has been nothing less than a rollercoaster ride. I worked incredibly hard not to get involved in conversations about the scandals, bigotry, and blatant political manipulation that was occurring. Meeting right and left wing nuts only exposed the lack of emotional intelligence I once sparingly hoped society had.
My coping mechanisms with this last election was to completely disconnect, refuse to choose a side, and stand back and watch the emotional and civil war begin. It was as though going into this election I innately knew it was going to be difficult one and I wanted nothing to do with it. So what did I do? I shut down and tried my best to avoid it all.
In thinking about the reaction I had, I started to wonder why I was doing this. Why did any sense of federal politics make me shut down? Was it the sense of feeling out of control, the lack of knowledge I felt which I deemed necessary to make a decent decision, or just down right pathetic options I could vote for? Does my idea of what's right and wrong matter? It is apparent that I decided in the most recent election my input was not worth while and so I decided not to have one. Whether that is right or wrong I am unsure. I am wagering though someone out there will have plenty to say about my passiveness towards this most recent presidential election.
None of it felt right, not an ounce of it. It was as though I was heading into a relationship and knew nothing good could come from this abusive courtship I was being forced into, I felt silenced, helpless, and just violated. How could I be part of a system that says it represents its people but actually doesn't. This governmental structure seems to be at a point where it creates more division than unity.
If I was to do it all over again, I doubt I would react much different. Watching America in post-election status only confirms that I made the proper decision for myself. Avoidance of choosing sides has saved me a boatload of emotional expenditure.
Having a pair of eyes and ears has come in really handy these past few months. Since I chose not to get involved in picking sides this election it gave me the sense of freedom to just sit back and be that friend who listened as humans openly vented their frustrations and opinions. In listening and watching I have learned more about society and the culture that surrounds me than before this election. People make emotional decisions and then stick to their guns out of pride. That is a huge thing I learned this round.
Observing and listening to those around me as they externally process their political tribe going through the systematic rollercoaster of the campaign process was also fascinating. Early on I had the opportunity to take photos of a protest occurring outside of a Donald Trump rally in downtown Kansas City, Missouri(which I have included throughout this article). When the Republican gathering was dispersing from the event center at that point in the election process, Bernie Sanders was still in the Democratic running, and a prevalent amount of the protesters at this rally were his supporters.
So there I was in the middle of two cultish tribes clashing with the hopes of change when in reality the line in the sand was only being more defined. I did not observe any productive conversations happening. It was merely a pissing match, lacking any sense of intellect or openness. Just a bunch of attention whores on both sides of the invisible fence.
In watching and listening to the immediate world around me, I learned this; How obvious the society I reside in lacks any sense of communication skills. I cannot think of one person who tried to sit me down and talk about the pros and cons of the candidate they were vetting for. It was as though every political decision being made around me, appeared to be emotionally based rather than intellectual or economical.
Most of my Trump-supporting friends seemed to be voting for him out of anger towards the rest of society, frustration towards the establishment, or religious reasons. My Clinton-supporting friends seemed to be voting out of spite for Trump, some fundamental policy issues, and a myriad of other reasons primarily having to do with being a minority. The main force I felt though between these two political camps was anger and fear. It was as though they both were backed into a corner and shit was about to hit the fan.... and it did. There was no win in the list of options.
I have never felt so close to identifying with pre-civil war tensions, and this saddens and scares me.
In the midst of feeling powerless recently the action I did take and will continue to make is self-education. I am responsible for myself, and so my goal is and will continue to be bettering my IQ and EQ. In the midst of the complexity of this society, I know I can bring change to my inner world, which I believe in turn will influence the world around me.
I also chose to write this article, and I took the time to think back on my process so I can learn from my mistakes and shortcomings, so I do not repeat them. Also in writing, I have found a somewhat stronger sense of how I feel about the current state of politics.
I do plan on taking personal forms of action in the future.
What are your thoughts? Have you taken the time to think about this most recent election reflectively? Have you let your emotions override you?
Please take some time to comment and share your thoughts. If you want to get into an argument chances are I won't respond.