There was a palpable rise in the frenzy that characterized the 2016 election season. The tension continuously grew to unbelievable and disproportionate levels. The implication of the obsession raises the question: what are we all going to do now that it’s over? What are we, as the media consuming public, supposed to do with ourselves? The reality of our dilemma is that we have to return to the real world that exists outside of the election-centric sphere, where real crises and events are still taking place regardless of whether or not we’re having an election.
On Oct. 31, The Washington Post stated, “This is the rare ‘most important election of your lifetime’ that truly feels like the most important election of your lifetime. Apocalyptic language runs thick on both sides.” Their observation couldn’t be more true; President Barack Obama has espoused such sentiments in numerous instances, saying on both “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that “this is probably the most important election of our lifetimes.” The weight of the election even reached the man holding the highest office in the country, further proving how all-consuming this election was for our nation.
In the bluntest terms, this election was the epitome of a car wreck. It’s the nastiest, most convoluted traffic accident that you could ever witness and you can’t look away. You know that just by looking at it that this accident is a complete disaster and by watching it, you witness parts of it that really disturb you. Moreover, even when you finally look away, you can’t think about anything else but what you’ve witnessed. Not only that, but the further implications of it for yourself and everyone who also witnessed it weigh on your mind, leaving room for little else.
In our world of instant news and media coverage, scandals seem to break all the time, so much so that they and the following discussions and fiery arguments are ingrained in how we consume our news. How we receive news has closed our world off so much and made our worldly views that much smaller. America was always self-involved, but the election gave us more of an excuse to be so.
As a result, we’ve begun to place less importance on what’s happening outside of our sphere of interest. Out there, outside of the United States election bubble, there’s still news going on that doesn’t involve Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. There’s still a refugee crisis going on in the eastern hemisphere. The New York Times reported that as of Nov. 3, “More people are dying while attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe … The sharp rise in fatalities — 3,940 deaths this year, compared with 3,700 in all of 2015 — can be attributed in part to the changing tactics used by smugglers.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant still has control over Mosul in Iraq, with similar wars being waged in multiple locations in the Middle East. Even within our own country, police brutality is still a serious issue for many black citizens, not to mention the issue of global warming that is largely ignored by top political leaders and the shutout state of the Supreme Court after Republican’s unwillingness to even consider President Obama’s choice for a ninth justice, Merrick Garland.
After the massive disappointment that was the 2016 Presidential Election, the United States now has a new president. How we go on to respond to this outcome will be a whole other election story in itself, but beyond that, we need to join back into an awareness of the greater international community. The United States needs to move far away from the exhausting exercise in patience that this election has required and look ahead to becoming better participants in the global community. Americans have every right to be constantly worried about the state of their country. However, our unhealthy method of media consumption and our exposure to all the inflammatory rhetoric during this campaign cycle has forced us to grow accustomed to expect little else. So what will we do now that the election is over? We’ll grow up, hold ourselves and our media to higher standards, and carry on.