Weekly Wellness: Voting


Maria McGinnis

Illustration By Jocelyn Burton

Keep calm and vote on.

In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of breathing, specifically breathing deep, and how we don’t do it as often as we should. As we get closer to November 3, we all may want to be practicing those deep breathing exercises, because I really think we’re going to need them. 

It’s a wild election year. There’s really no argument to be had there. Regardless of how you’re planning to vote, or what your feelings toward the election process are, there’s no debating this is a high stress — yet historical — time for the United States. 

I didn’t really get into politics until my senior year of high school when I had to take a government class to graduate. Up until that point, I’d see the news on TV at my parents’ house, and of course politics would come up, but I never really paid any attention to it. Now, it’s on my mind every day. It has been for a while, but within these past couple months — or really just the entirety of 2020 — I feel like I can’t go a day without thinking about politics and what the hell is going on. 

As a journalist, I always feel compromised when it comes to having an opinion. How much can I say? Can I post about this? Am I damaging my unbiased-ness? I know it’s important for me to refrain from spouting off my opinion at any chance I get. I mean, you won’t see me arguing in Facebook comments with people I disagree with, but I also feel like remaining completely silent and unbiased on social media, in conversations and just in general — especially now with the mountain of issues ahead of us — is a disservice to myself. 

With that said, as a journalist, I’ll never tell you how to vote or who to vote for. I just want you to get out there and do it. Do I have an opinion as to who I want the next president to be? Yes. Could I have an extensive conversation about why voting in the opposite direction is problematic and potentially catastrophic? Yes. Will I divulge all of that here? Well, only if you ask me to but generally speaking no. 

That can be hard to deal with. If you’re a super opinionated person like I am, who loves to talk and debate everything from politics to who the best guy from “Gossip Girl” is (it’s Chuck by the way, don’t come for me), then refraining from intense political banter is difficult. But something I’ve learned — as hard as it was — is that it’s crucial to realize that sometimes it’s really best to keep your thoughts to yourself. 

When it comes to the values and political beliefs of the people around me, it’s about a 50/50 split — about half feel the way I do and the other half doesn’t, and that’s OK. That’s not to say that if someone doesn’t agree with my beliefs that I don’t like them or anything like that, but given how intense our political situation is right now, when people with two different beliefs get together it can be very chaotic. 

So, how are you supposed to deal with that?

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s necessarily a “right” answer. I think the way a situation should be handled depends a lot on the situation and the people involved, so it’s hard to really have a textbook answer to refer to. Conversations about politics always feel like anything but a conversation. It gets so heated so fast, and it can be hard to keep your cool. I’ve learned that while debating can be fun, sometimes it’s not the most productive thing to do. Especially when there is so much hanging in the balance this election. 

The best advice I can give from my own experiences is to just continue to do what you think is best. It’s hard — and sometimes impossible — to change the opinions of others, and honestly, you shouldn’t set out to try to change people’s opinions. I wouldn’t want someone trying to do that to me. I’ve found it’s best to use your voice as much as possible, fight for what you believe is right and do the most important thing you can do this year — vote.