Consideration: Election campaigns
“Are you ready for some football? A Monday night party!”
August, a time when we can expect hot, dry weather in the Midwest (not this year). August, a time when children are transitioning from boredom at home back to there classrooms and friends at school. (not this year). August, a time when college football fans don their colors and head to the stadium. (not this year) August, a time when major league baseball heads into crunch time to make the playoffs (you figure this one out) August, a time for insults, accusations, manipulation of facts, libel and abject hated in an election year (at least some things we can still count on) It’s been winding up for over a year and it’s time to release the Kraken, the devourer of integrity and truth.
“Are you ready for some ugly and hate from both parties?”
CAMPAIGN 0-20 is upon us. Critical Accusations Maligning Political Adversaries Intending to Generate Negative Opinions. It’s not a virus, but it can have unpleasant side effects.
There seems to be widespread agreement that we find negative political campaigns to be distasteful. So, if it so unpopular, why is there so much of it? Simple, it works! It is considerably easier and quicker for a hopeful to discredit an opponent than it is to convince others of their ability and worth. If someone touts their ability and potential most react with skepticism. Negativity however peaks our interest. Any doubts, review the entertainment media line-up. Police and lawyer shows abound. Crime, deception and horror are standards. Even most sitcoms emphasize human frailties and weaknesses. People are interested in dysfunction. From “Dallas” in the 1970’s to “Yellowstone” in 2020, viewers tune in to see what bad thing is going to happen next.
So, what can we do? I figure this is my opportunity to intervene with an inoculation for negativation (new word coming to a dictionary near you soon) No matter whether you are left wing, right wing or wingless, I figure we could all use some tips to weather the onslaught. Since campaigners’ goal is to manipulate our perspective, let’s see if we can counter-act their tactics.
Tactic 1 Put a mask on. I haven’t done the research but I assume that whoever invented the mute button on the television remote did so because they didn’t want to have to listen to what was being said. This time of year, is ideal for practicing mute-ation. That can surely stop the barrage and open the door to having some fun. Make up your own dialog to correspond to the picture on the screen. Invite some friends over and take turns scripting the rhetoric. Have prizes for most bizarre, creative or unlikely interpretations. Make a u-tube video, go viral, end up with your own late-night show.
Tactic 2: Practice Social Distancing. I think we have all found ourselves in situations when someone wants to talk politics when we don’t. Even when you say you are not interested they persist. To create social distancing try the La La technique. Once the other person begins their rant merely make the sound la la la la la la la…… over and over again under your drive them to submission. They are likely to think you are disturbed (which you are by there comments) and move on in search of a more amicable victim.
Tactic 3: The symptoms might not be as bad as they seem. Despite the derogatory character assassination of the opponent, at the end of the day they are all good with each other. Take the primaries for example. Candidates from the same party will use any tactic to undermine the efforts of rivals from their own party only to kiss and make up when the battle is over. No matter how ugly the situation becomes none of them want to miss the opportunity for the smiling photo-op when it is over. Campaigns are orchestrated drama designed to suck you in and warp your opinion. Unhealthy as it sounds, some of them actually relish the opportunity to spew negativism.
Tactic 4: Invest in a treatment alternative. Develop a “pay to play” strategy. Any time you find yourself upset or complaining about politics make a financial investment to your mental health fund. Political campaigns are a lot about money so set your personal fine at a hefty amount. It is remarkable that when it costs you to needlessly stress yourself, you ask yourself whether it is worth the aggravation. Good news. If you don’t limit your participation in the negativity, you’ll rack up a substantial amount of cash to invest in counseling and good counseling can be costly.
Sidebar – If campaigners had to donate a quarter every time the said something derogatory we could reduce the national debt by a couple of trillion.
Tactic 5: Prepare an antidote. Stock up on good news. Kind deeds, fortunate outcomes, celebrations, achievement of milestones, human interest stories and pretty much anything about little children. Any time you encounter negativation interject a little good news. Tell them it will all work out for the best. Nothing is more revolting to a neg-o-crat than a good-news-nic.
Tactic 6: Inoculate your perspective. When you can’t change the circumstance, reframe it. If you have following my blog you had to see this coming. Reframing political derogatives is great exercise for aspiring perspective managers. Reframing rookies might want to consider a group effort
Derogative – You’re a self-centered, egotistical, lying piece of crap (See blog entry 8 to learn more about excrement references)
Reframe -I wish you were more open to having an honest conversation regarding areas where we disagree.
Derogative – You’re an incompetent nincompoop. If I had been in charge I would have handled it the right way.
Reframe – I haven’t a clue as to what I would have done but I am so glad you had to take the heat so I could second guess you without being held accountable.
Derogative – All you care about is your greed driven associates. If elected, I intend to take from the rich and give to the needy.
Reframe – Everyone loves a good fairy tale. Your rich friends are fiends while my rich colleagues, including me, have a lot of needs and simply want to take advantage of the wishful thinkers.
You get the idea. This past Sunday my minister referred to the fact that all things serve a purpose in helping us learn and grow. So what purpose can a political campaign play in helping us learn and grow.
It may help us to heed the warning of what can happen to us if we allow power, greed or self-serving to become our primary motivators.
It may cause us to realize how we sound when we criticize/belittle others and what kind of image we project to others that witness our behavior.
It may serve as a test to determine whether we can deflect the negativity, conduct our own research and make a choice of who we believe will best serve our interests.
It may serve as an invitation to seek opportunities to encourage others in pursuing their dreams.
In about 80 days, CAMPAIGN – 020 will come to an end. It’s not likely that the end will result in a cure for negativity. Seasons and campaigns come and go. However, if we heed the warning, realize our potentials, pass the test and accept the invitation, we’ll be a little better off, and succeed where most campaigns fall short. We will have made a positive difference.