By the time you are reading this, you are either apprehensive (you’re reading this before November 8th), or you are sad and depressed, or happy and exuberant (you are reading this after November 8th).
It seems like every 4 years we act like we’ve never done this before. Every 4 years we’re surprised at how hateful “the other side” has become. Every 4 years we get bombarded by political ads that we agree with and disagree with. But this year, well, this year was different.
I don’t mean it was different because it was Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. No, this year it was different because this was the first time that a Presidential election was played out on social media. And let me tell you, some of you people out there are downright hateful!
This was also the first Presidential election since our national media has ceased to provide factual, accurate news. The first Presidential election where everything you read is mostly just made up stories by the sources that you used to be able to trust. This is also the first Presidential election where the whole behind the scenes wheelin’-n-dealin’ was put on full display to the voting public.
My assistant Kaite was voting in her first ever Presidential primary this year. I think there were still 10 or 12 contenders in the Republican mix at this time. I told her the ballot was going to have lots of names on it. I told her that she just needed to pick the candidate that I wanted her to pick, and then just skip the rest of the 100+ names on the ballot because they didn’t really matter. This was about a week before all of America learned about Ted Cruz doing a little back room magic with the delegate count and suddenly winning states that Donald Trump thought he had won. Oh, so that’s what was so important about those other 100+ names on the ballot?
I remember when Donald Trump found out he was getting whupped in the delegate count and got called out by Ted Cruz because he didn’t know how to play the game. Hell, America didn’t know how to play the game. For that matter, America didn’t even know a game was being played! I never knew what those delegates on the ballot were for or how they could be used to have your vote stripped away from you. Go figure.
In this Presidential election, social media played a HUUUGE (said in Donald Trump’s voice) role. We’ve never had Presidential contenders sending out their own tweets before, in the middle of the night! The first debate was one of the most watched debates of all time and not because people wanted to know more about the candidates. Most people were watching solely for the entertainment value and to see who was going to pop a cork first. But, for all of us that own and work in small businesses across the country, there is a lot at stake with this, and every, election.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard; “Well, business won’t pick up again until after the election is over.” Then I look back and realize that I’ve been unusually slow the last month or so, so maybe it’s true. I know I, for one, am going to be glad when it’s over for one main reason, so I won’t have to see this drivel on social media for the next few years.
So, let’s talk about social media for a minute. First and foremost remember this; you or your friends don’t actually know either one of the candidates. Everything that you know about them you’ve read online. And, just in case you’re not aware of this, everything you read online is fake. Our trusted news sources went the way of the National Enquirer about 10 years ago and just started making up the news and the headlines. The major media outlets have shifted away from their mission statements of fair and balanced reporting to willy-nilly sensationalism to try and become a trending topic. The truth? To Hell with the truth.
I’m probably most surprised at the number of my friends and acquaintances that have bought into all of this fake news propaganda and continually post all of this mean, vindictive, and downright incorrect “facts” on Facebook. Then, there are the hundreds of nasty comments that people post in response. It just makes me shake my head. Someone who got their info off of the internet is suddenly an expert on foreign policy because they subscribe to some right-wing or left-wing newsletter. A newsletter that only publishes things that they get off of the internet from other right-wing or left-wing websites. Unbelievable.
The memes and statistics that prove the Obama administration has been one of the most successful administrations in the history of the world, are right on top of an unflattering picture of President Obama blaming him for ruining our country and selling out to the terrorists, all pulled from the internet. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen someone post; “If you’re voting for Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton, it goes both ways), you need to unfriend me right now because I can’t be friends with somebody that is that stupid and out of touch with reality that they would actually vote for that piece of crap.”
The number of people that I have hidden from my newsfeed is pretty high this year just because I can’t believe I’m actually friends with people so gullible to think what they are reading on the internet is real. Now, if it’s in real print, like say a newspaper (wink, wink), you can take that opinion to the bank.
But, here we are in early November. And depending upon when you are reading this, the election is either over or about to be over. This can only mean one thing, the Christmas season is upon us with only one minor bump in the road after this contemptuous election season…Thanksgiving.
And yes, I’m talking Thanksgiving dinner with all of those people you spent the last year calling idiots, dumb asses, uneducated and stupid. I can see them all now, rubbing their hands together like mad scientists while they say, “Welcome home Chuck.”