Is it over yet?
We’re tired. And we want to go home.
Elections didn’t used to take this long. But they also weren’t this much of a circus sideshow, either. Who thought we’d ever pine for the days when two old, boring white guys in suits would politely disagree about banal issues like economic growth rates and tax plans?
This election, though, has been a two-year trudge of misery; the political equivalent of the Bataan Death March. One candidate says and does such terrible things that we begin to grow increasingly anxious about the sanity of his supporters, while we hold our breath and wait for the skeletons to drop out of the other candidate’s closet.
There’s science behind the stress, too. In September, a survey from the American Psychological Association reported that one in four American workers felt more stressed and less productive in their jobs because of political discussions with colleagues.
It’s gotten so bad, some psychologists are beginning to reference an “election stress disorder” — a sense of “irritability and resentment” leading to anxiety and a sense of “powerlessness,” Washington, D.C.-area therapist Steven Stosny explained to the Washington Post. “If you listen to political stories on the radio while driving, you’re likely to drive more aggressively,” he said. “At work, it will be harder to concentrate without blaming co-workers or supervisors. At home you won’t be as sweet to your kids as you might otherwise be. You’ll be tempted to drink more than usual. It’s hard to tell that you have it — ask your spouse and kids if they’ve noticed a difference.”
It doesn’t help that voters seem to see both candidates as insufferable and boding catastrophe. These candidates have the lowest favorability ratings in recent history, and both campaigns have been guilty of stressing that a victory for the other side would mean certain doom. It’s gone beyond economic issues and tax policy to matters of debating one candidate’s morals and the other’s sanity.
You see it on Facebook, too. People are now casting their ballots in early voting, and sharing their “I Voted” stickers with a sigh of relief. For them, the game’s over. They’ve done all they can do, and there’s no turning back.
And the rest of us silently envy them, and not just because of the lines they won’t have to wait in on Election Day.