Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Political Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Up here in impoverished rural Ontonagon County, Michigan (Porcupine County in my novels), there seem to be almost no roadside political signs in front of homes along the streets and highways. Yesterday, in the eleven miles between Ontonagon village and Silver City to the west, I counted just three properties with Trump signs and one with a Bernie banner. The biggest sign was for the incumbent sheriff, running for re-election.

In the past, Ontonagon Countians have been as involved and as passionate in their politics, whether Republican or Democratic, as citizens of anyplace else in the rest of the United States. You used to know the allegiance of just about every one of your neighbors just by what they put out on the lawn, never mind fervent barroom and cafe wrangles. The local weekly used to be full of letters ripping a strip off the Other Side. People used to be engaged.

True, the conventions have yet to happen, but it seems that folks up here in the boonies—and, I bet, most of the rest of the country—are heartily sick of the politics of 2016. Both Trump and Hillary seem highly unpopular. (Bernie not so much, but I wouldn’t call him a shoo-in either.)

My conversations with the locals have led me to the admittedly unscientific conclusion that the election cycle has become so long, so intense, so hateful, so full of at best dubious and at worst outrageous statements that people throughout the political spectrum are suffering from extreme campaign fatigue.

Makes me wonder if voters here and maybe everywhere will either sit out the presidential election or trickle to the polls holding their noses, voting against the candidate they either like least or dislike most. There seem to be no positives to vote for.

Things could change between now and November. But I don’t think so. I think we will just see more and more of the same.

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