Like everyone else, I’ve got election fatigue. It feels like this grueling election cycle has been about 4 years long, and the divisiveness it has created has made things pretty much unbearable. Friends, family, social media “friends” who have never met are barely speaking, or openly fighting with each other. Everyone I actually know has talked about exhaustion, the inability to process what is happening, and the desire not to focus on anything for any length of time. I’ve been thinking about this – when my brain actually works – and it suddenly came to me. Yes, of course the election has done this to us, but it’s not only the election. Several other factors have converged to make us lose our minds.
Think about the timing. Election Day is about a week after Halloween. The holiday where the entire point is about eating as much candy and sugary things as possible. Adults either sneak candies from their children’s stash, or buy extra bags of candy that they hide throughout the house. Either way, the sugar highs fog our brains, hype us up, and make it nearly impossible to concentrate.
Then, two days before the election, when we’re already in a mindless, frenzied state, it’s Daylight Saving Time. We “fall back” meaning it gets dark at lunchtime, and this is hyped by reminding us at least we get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday. Nobody’s body adjusts to this in time for Election Day. We’re tired. We’re cranky. All we can think about is sleeping and seeing the sun again while we’re awake.
Add it all up – negativity beyond our endurance levels that has gone on for years, sugar highs that are probably worse than usual because we need to self-medicate by shoving Reese’s Pieces and M&Ms down our throats, and our internal timekeeping mechanisms have been completely thrown off by a totally unnecessary change of time that spirals us all into a terrible depression. It all equals an electorate unable to know what exactly they’re doing when they stumble into the voting booth!
Hopefully, we’ll recover in time to make responsible decisions. But this could explain the results of prior elections when we’ve all wondered what the heck happened (see the 2000 Presidential election, Florida, hanging chads for a perfect example).
So clear your heads, skip the sugar, get some sleep, and vote responsibly. Our future depends on it. After all, we can’t always blame Florida when things go wrong.
Copyright Nancy Machlis Rechtman, all rights reserved