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Political Burnout

Avoid burnout this political season.

Are you tired of hearing about the president?  It doesn’t matter whether you are a supporter or a detractor, are you tired of all of it?  If you’re a supporter, the political opposition is trying to take the president down.  If you’re a not a fan, you can’t believe that he’s gotten away with so much, and it continues.  In the end, you feel like nothing that the people like you and me are doing is making a difference to the people, the system, or the outcomes – and it has us burned out.

Politicians and Political Pundits

The job of the politicians and political pundits seems to be to speak louder than their opponents, ignore what they’ve said, and speak their own rhetoric again.  This behavior seems to happen repeatedly on news channels and media of all sorts.  Neither side concedes the other’s point, and the result is the kind of incoherent noise that you find in a social gathering without any sort of unifying performance.

It’s no wonder that people need a break from this noise.  Even people who are directly in the political circles are unable to persuade people towards reason.  How is it possible for a citizen to make a difference?

Take a Timeout

If you’re getting frustrated by the lack of civility and respect necessary to listen to the opposing side, then perhaps the best response is a temporary timeout.  There’s time before the next election.  You can choose to stop listening to the political rhetoric and plan to pay attention again in enough time to be well informed for the next election.

Citizen Society

The power of the people resides in the capacity for each of us to change the course of the political discourse by choosing the actors in the discussion.  While we do not, ourselves, get to walk that stage, our ability to persuade our fellow citizens about who should best represent us, and our own vote do decide who gets to represent us.

While the process is very slow, there is a great deal of power wielded by the citizens of a community in their ability to choose their representatives.  While we can be frustrated by the course of the conversation, we are not powerless.  In fact, simple steps like changing the channels we listen to influence politicians greatly.

Change the Channel

While the politicians are set in their roles until the remainder of their term, the political pundits retain their throne by being relevant.  When people stop watching, pundits lose their power.  If you don’t believe a pundit is adding value to a conversation, stop watching or reading.  Change the channel or don’t read from websites that aren’t moving the conversation forward.  That is not to say that you shouldn’t read the opposing viewpoint, you most certainly should.  However, if you find there’s a source that’s unable to articulate both sides of the story with equal clarity, perhaps it’s time to stop using that source.

Change the Community

If you can change the channel, you can change the community.  By building bridges of understanding and working with others to improve understanding of the issues – and your perspectives – you can change the world, or at least your little corner of it, and that may be enough.

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