Politics Detox

Presidential Elections, US culture, US Elections, US Politics
I took this photo of an voting information flier on the ground on election day.

I took this photo of a voting information flier on the ground on election day.

I’ve been interested in politics forever but this election year was one for the ages. And all of that excitement wasn’t even crammed into a single election year — candidates announced that they were running for president about two years before election day (of the major candidates, John Edwards was first in December of 2006, and Barack Obama was last in February of 2007), and there was speculation and buzz well before anyone announced anything.

All told, this election cycle took up about three years of my life, with the intensity ratcheting up and up and staying at fever pitch from about the Iowa primaries (January 2008) through election day.

So perhaps it’s unsurprising that after the initial euphoria of election night, I’ve settled into a period of politics detox. I no longer obsessively click on the acronymed sites crowding my bookmarks toolbar (TPM, FR, DD, WM, 538) — several of them haven’t been touched since November 4th. I still read my daily New York Times but I glide over the politics and intrigue and pay more attention to the arts section and special sections like Science Times. The TV stays away from CNN and MSNBC and C-Span.

I believe this has been better for my mental health — but man, that was sure a fascinating election cycle.

I can sense that things are starting to change already. For one thing, I am so watching the inauguration. My daughter has the day off of school (hooray!) and we’re gonna make a day of it. That’ll invite CNN back into my living room, and I’ll want to see what Kevin Drum and Andrew Sullivan and Matt Yglesias and Hilzoy and everyone are saying about it. And I’ll disagree with some of it, probably, and write them emails and write stuff here and then see the counterarguments and that’ll probably be that. Detox completed, politics part of my brain re-engaged.

But for now, I’m still really enjoying ignoring politics in favor of things like the Science Times. Did you know that it’s been proven that lack of sleep is closely related to catching a cold? I thought so…



  1. engineer  •  Jan 14, 2009 @10:01 am

    That about sums up my thoughts as well. Don’t worry though. In a few months, politicians will start screwing up and we’ll be there to call them on it.

  2. nimh  •  Jan 14, 2009 @10:08 am

    Mental health is good.

    I guess the way I dealt with it was just to roll my attention on to other parts of the globe. It was always a bit strange for a Hungary-resident Dutchman to get that caught up in the minutiae and daily heat of American elections anyway; although I obsessed a fair bit about the 2000 and 2004 elections too, the last year or two must have set a record.

    Now that’s finally over I’ve had more time to look around how things are going closer to home … like, my sis and dad had to really re-educate me about what has been going on in Holland.

    It’s also nice not to be caught up as much in the daily cycle of who-said-what and which-candidate-raised how much, got endorsed by whom, is polling how today. Because as addictive as it is, it’s also all a pretty ephemereal [sp?] dimension of politics. It’s like … bubblegum, fun but when you’re done, it’s gone. Switching over from TPM and Pollster to, say, the New Yorker and openDemocracy is a mental health virtue too :-)

    Though now I do have to know what FR is, of course. I got all the other acronyms, but what’s FR? You’re not secretly a Freeper are you? :-D

  3. sozobe  •  Jan 14, 2009 @10:20 am

    First Read!

  4. FreeDuck  •  Jan 14, 2009 @11:55 am

    Glad to know I’m not alone.