How to Survive a Divisive Election Cycle - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

It comes around every few years like clockwork, arriving like an uninvited houseguest that sets up shop and refuses to leave. Like it or not, the divisive election cycle is upon us once again, and the contentious and divisive political environment is worse now than ever before.
Partisan politics have been part of the American landscape for quite some time, but it seems this election cycle is like nothing we have ever seen. From married couples torn apart by their choice of candidates to ruined friendships both online and off, political differences have reached a breaking point, and many voters are feeling the pain. There has been a marked increase in people seeking professional counseling as a result of the current election, and if you are looking for ways to cope, you are not alone. Here are some practical tips to help you survive the current election cycle and come out whole no matter which candidate ends up on Capitol Hill.

Resist the Urge of Social Media

 

Social media, in particular, has become a partisan swamp this election cycle, and resisting its siren call is one of the best ways to cope. Avoiding political posts on Facebook and staying out of political discussions online can give you a refreshing break from the current election cycle.
Instead of focusing on politics and political discussions, delve into the things you really like to do. Whether it is going to the movies, reading a good book, or just relaxing, finding an alternative to politics will make your life better and more fulfilling.

Do Your Own Research

 

Determining what is true and false can be difficult even in the best of times, but in the heat of a contentious election cycle, the truth often gets lost in the shuffle. The fractured nature of news coverage and the Internet makes getting to the truth that much harder, but it is important to persevere.
“Seeking out independent news sources with a long track record of impartiality is the best way to sort out the facts and get the truth about what the candidates say and what is really true,” stated Walter Powell, NFL veteran, African American tech expert, and CEO of Politiscope.
If you find yourself bothered and offended by slights to your own candidate as well as the other guy (or girl), chances are you are on the right track.

Break the 24-Hour News Cycle

 

Being able to access news and information 24 hours a day is good in theory, but the reality is a lot less attractive. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the current news cycle and unduly worried about the outcome of the election, it is time to take a step back and break the 24-hour news cycle. You can be just as informed watching the evening news, and you will feel a lot better.
No matter how you feel about the current state of the mid-term elections or the quality of the candidates in contention, you can rest easy knowing that it will all soon be over. No matter who wins, life will go on, and the sun will rise the morning after election day.

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Jeff Shuford

Jeff Shuford is a nationally syndicated columnist whose monthly column appears in more than 44 regional newspapers. Shuford is one of fewer than five millennial African-American syndicated columnists in the United States, and one of the country's youngest syndicated columnists overall.


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