Before You Get Too Wrapped Up

We’re headed straight toward another US presidential campaign season. Actually, we’re in it right now. Before the event gets you too wrapped up or soured out, whichever the case may be, I’d like to offer a small piece of perspective.

In more ways that we might imagine, the American presidential election is a phenomenon into itself. It is unique, and one of our unique contributions to the world.

I’m referring to the hype, the hoopla, and the oh-its-the-most-important-thing-ever frenzy that surrounds these campaigns every four years. Observers as far back as Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s noted that Americans were prone to temporary madness in presidential election seasons. Rallies, parades, festivals, and now commercials, internet ads, and dozens of other pseudo-events (h/t Daniel Boorstin) portray either dire consequences on one hand or glorious effects on the other in this quadrennial event. It’s hard not to get either swept up in or turned off by the campaign fervor.

I understand that in history there have been important choices at important times. My point to you is that if you go back and look at any–and I repeat, any–of the campaign literature and media coverage of an American presidential election you would see the same sort of over-the-top assertions as you do now.

Perspective is all I offer. Remember to take a moment away or a step back and try to keep it all in perspective.