Barack Obama has won re-election. Early voting is now closed. Polling places are closed. Absentee ballots are counted. It’s over … finally.
Billions of dollars were being spent to get your attention for one choice or another. There are local, state, and national decisions ahead that will impact your life. Everything feels so urgent and important. New research is exploring the stress and anxiety that elections have on the mental health of those who are highly invested in the political process. If watching CNN, FOX News, or BBC America around the clock for the next three days is your idea of engaging fun, you might want to think twice about how that is affecting your body, mind, and spirit. Being consumed by inaccurate polls, arrogant pundits, and bias politicos vying for rating and reciting talking points perhaps is not a healthy media diet. This is not to suggest that turning the news off and shutting everything out is the answer either. It’s not.
It is important to be engaged in the life and world around you. If we are to participate in the political process at all, it is our responsibility to be informed voters, on local and federal measures, as we honor those who came before us and afforded these rights to all citizens of this country. Yet we must clearly understand that they did not fight to break physical and legal shackles only for us to be bound by mental, spiritual, and emotional chains. Without the option of a specific candidate who was “representing” them, they put their faith in God and hope in love for their families and communities. Voting was only one part, so if their platform did not win, it fueled their passion for freedom and justice instead of what is most common today which is a resulting voter apathy when all hope has been placed on an electronic ballot. They did not put their lives on the line for a candidate. Instead, many suffered and died for what they believed in! Decision 2012 was about what all decisions are about: values.
We all know what is going to happen after November 6th. Now that President assumes office once again, let the congressional filibustering begin. Instead of stressing out, raising your blood pressure, responding to crude messages posted on Facebook or Twitter regarding President Obama, or fussing at the T.V. as each pundit jockeys for airtime with provocative statements, take some time for yourself today. Most importantly, make sure you didn’t forget to cast a vote for you to be a leader in your life by making one of these healthy decisions.