There’s No Reason to Be Depressed About the 2016 Election

By Graham Glover

First, a confession: I’ve been politically depressed for about 8 months.

When 2016 began, my political psyche started going downhill. As the primary season rolled on, my political bad mood turned in to downright depression. I think it hit rock bottom after the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. For the past month I’ve wanted to shut down politically. Seriously, I thought I had reached the point of no return. My love of and faith in politics had all but worn out.

But something happened recently. Something changed. I don’t know what it was or when it happened. (There was no “born again” moment.)

Nonetheless, I’m no longer politically depressed. In fact, you might say I am even a bit hopeful. Hopeful in politics. Hopeful in this November’s election. Hopeful in our Republic.

For those of you that are where I have been, I have a simple message for you: there’s no reason to be depressed about the 2016 election. None whatsoever. No matter who is elected president, who that person may nominate to the Supreme Court, which party maintains or takes control of Congress, or how parties and candidates do in statewide and local elections, there is no reason to be, become, or remain depressed.

You may think the Donald or Hillary, Inc. are poor candidates, the worst our modern parties have ever nominated. You may fear for our nation if either of them is elected. You may even think we are on the brink of some type of catastrophic meltdown no matter who is victorious in November. But you really need to stop. Seriously. Stop it. Now. Right Now.

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For these candidates are but a reflection of who we are as a people. As imperfect as they both are, they represent (in more ways than we care to admit) the public that they seek to lead. These candidates are you. They are me. What they say is what we think. The legislation the sponsor and vote for is what we support. We shouldn’t be depressed about the 2016 election, because this election is nothing more than a referendum on who we truly are as a people: imperfect citizens, living in an imperfect Republic, voting for imperfect candidates.

That’s right, our imperfections are epitomized in our politics. And I for one don’t find this depressing at all. In fact, I find it ripe with opportunity and hope.

It’s ripe for those of us who love politics and see in the marketplace of ideas a chance to advance any number of causes that we are passionate about. It’s ripe for those of us who love to debate policy, and in this intense political climate, are forced to hone our rhetorical skills and political knowledge as we go toe to toe with our political adversaries. Its ripe with hope for those of us that have the foresight to know that two years from now our nation will go back to the polls and that 2 years later we’ll be having this same conversation about presidential candidates all over again. What an incredible opportunity for the victor and the loser to assess what they did right (or wrong) and how they should continue to frame (or reframe) their platforms. This election is ripe with opportunity and hope because in our democratic republic we are forced to vote for imperfect leaders that represent imperfect parties that are made up of imperfect voters, which means that we will never be without another chance to make our case to the electorate. And this – this constant campaign – this constant debate – is exactly what makes our imperfect way of governing work.

So don’t be depressed. Be hopeful. Be opportunistic. Because if this election will prove anything, it’s that another one is coming, and with it, another hopeful opportunity to do that which Americans do so well – politics.

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9 thoughts on “There’s No Reason to Be Depressed About the 2016 Election

  1. We shouldn’t be depressed because the candidates are imperfect, we should be depressed because they are both serious threats to the Constitution. Also, people who place hope and faith in politics always get burned. It’s like making a deal with Darth Vader, once you think the deal is good, he alters the terms and threatens your life. Only trust governments and political systems knowing God uses them for the good order of man that we may live somewhat peaceably in this sinful world.

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    1. Calke14, do you mean to suggest that previous candidates/politicians/jurists haven’t/aren’t a threat to the Constitution? Our nation seems to have endured a few constitutional crises and yet here we are, the lone super power left standing.

      My hope and faith isn’t in politicians. Never has been. Never will be. But I do have faith in our republic (not the true, comforting faith that the Gospel brings).

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  2. I find this all profoundly stupid and short-sighted. There is in fact a crisis of the Constitution. If the Constitution is not upheld according to the sworn oaths of our public servants, and by them specifically, there is going to be an enormously difficult – if not impossible – battle to have those laws restored. I am not depressed. I am ferociously angry that the people set in place to uphold our Constitution spend an awful lot of time undermining it.

    If you are not depressed about it, that’s fine with me. But if you think we can keep on like this, you are astonishingly ignorant. Of course, this is the ongoing tone I hear on this site constantly about political will; and I have no expectation that it will change; and I know for fact that this attitude is precisely why the Constitution is allowed to founder; I am confident that my comments will change nothing for you.

    Add to this, the great danger to our very safety to live in our homes from terrorists and other foreign threats, the incredible corruption of government officials, and the simple foolishness of squandering our financial resources; there is no excuse for this complacency.

    I hope I’m clear enough, and passionate enough to reach someone.

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    1. Don, what specific crisis are we facing today that we haven’t faced in the past? Do you have zero faith in the balance of powers that will undoubtedly check whomever is elected president? Have you lost complete faith in the people of this great land? I mean, for all of our imperfections, we are still the example of every other nation in the world. People flock here. People want to attend our schools, work for our businesses, enjoy our freedom.

      I’m not fan of either candidate, they are both flawed, in ways that frustrate me greatly. But I refuse to let 1 election send me or my faith in American down the tubes.

      As always, I enjoy your input. We may not agree on this, but I think this discourse is exactly what makes our nation the greatest thing going.

      Pax!

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      1. Specific crises are far more than we have had in the past, for a number of reasons. The main one you hit right on the head – balance of powers. The Supreme Court doesn’t use the Constitution to do their work anymore – thus gay marriage is a right, carbon dioxide is a pollutant, EPA has water rights on private land, the President can make you buy stuff you don’t want, and Executive Orders that countermand the actual law are all too often completely fine. The Congress, empowered to control all that by both financial and impeachment tools, when the actual law doesn’t matter to some, have abdicated their powers for political reasons. That stuff has got to stop, by the hands of those very citizens who can advocate and vote.

        As for the people of this great land, many of them have lost the will to participate, to their detriment. Many others are looking at the Constitution as an obstacle to their desires, and would love to remove some of it; and in any case, act like it isn’t there anyway (examples: gun control laws, abridgment of religious freedoms, and state control of local issues). And alas, it has been long foretold that progressive tax structures bring the government’s proper duties into the control of people who have no issue with ridiculous spending, so long as it favors them.

        A citizen, that knows our history and the obvious outcome of current events and choices, should be busy fixing it, not lamenting the choices. I heard you talk about political activism once, with passion and elegance. I would like to hear that again, even though I suppose we do not agree on many things.

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  3. For the mere fact that they reflect the state of our nation and the people of our nation should be depressing. The only comfort is that the end of our time on this earth must be drawing near and our eternity with with God thrpugh Christ’s work on the cross is eminent relative to creation through now.

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    1. JMCAIN, agree wholeheartedly on your last point. What a glorious day it will be when our Lord returns.

      For now though, we’ll continue to deal with imperfect people, imperfect politicians, and imperfect governments.

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  4. Don, I’m very sympathetic to your concerns about the Supreme Court and the manner in which they interpret the Constitution and equally agreeable on your critique of Congress. On the later especially, I think Congress has failed enormously with respect to both Presidents Obama and Bush 43. The power of the presidency has taken on a form that I don’t think the Founders intended.

    If this election cycle has proven anything it’s that the public is very much engaged in the process. How else do you explain the success of Trump and Sanders? These are both very non-traditional candidates who ran hard against the system and found much success. Now, whether you or I agree with what Trump and Sanders stand for, that’s an entirely different conversation!

    I’m all for activism in the political process. It’s why I am hopeful despite the choices that I am given this November. I may not like the outcome in a few weeks, but I remain hopeful in the will of our people and the stability of our republic. Time will tell if my optimism is misplaced!

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