The race for the White House is more than a year away, but if I have to hear one more political speech or read the results from another poll, I'm probably going to start bleeding from my ears. Truth be told, the 2016 election is worse than watching department stores putting out Christmas decorations in the middle of summer.
Make that a lot worse.
Granted, I only have to deal with Christmas "creep" whenever I go shopping at these stores, and I actually found a way to get even with them. Last year when someone was busy putting Christmas decorations on a shelf, I told a sales representative that they were way behind the power curve since the stores in Boise were already putting out their Valentine's Day merchandise.
For about 10 seconds, that person actually believed me.
Ok... ok... five seconds.
However, I can't see any way of avoiding the political "creep" that's already wearing me down. Anytime I go on the internet or turn on the television, I'm constantly bombarded with the latest on what's happening with these candidates.
It gets significantly worse when I want to take a break and check out what my family and friends are up to on various social media sites. While not everyone is guilty, I have a handful of them constantly sharing with me (and everyone else on the planet apparently) stories supporting their political position or something that defames the opposition.
Some of the stories they share are so over-the-top that I don't even bother getting past the headlines. Depending on the story's political leaning, it seems that three things are apparently true:
1. The Republican Party will single-handedly destroy the economy, allow global warming to destroy the planet and then send the Earth hurtling into the Sun.
2. The Democratic Party will single-handedly bankrupt the nation, take away the guns of lawful people, allow criminals to keep their guns and throw unfaithful Americans into FEMA labor camps.
3. Elvis will perform at the next Super Bowl.
Truth be told, I'm hedging my bets that the third option is probably the most likely to happen.
I've learned to take everything I read on Facebook with a huge grain of salt. It's gotten to the point that I've had to up my dosage of blood pressure medication to compensate for the amount of "salt" I've had to deal with.
An important thing I've also had to consider is the sources that provide the information for these stories. If it comes from a blog site or one that's clearly from a political group, I simply tell myself "next" and move on to the next post to see if someone has the latest cute kitten or adorable puppy video.
The problem with these blog sites is the process they use to verify the facts and information contained in the stories. It's not clear whether they've actually pulled the information from reputable sources or simply found one person out there who thinks what they're saying is true.
Stories on the Internet make the ones carried by tabloid publications in the checkout aisle of our local supermarkets look stories from the New York Times. Of course, those tabloids also claim the Bigfoot wedded a two-headed Elvis clone from another planet, but that's another story for another day.
The problems with what people are posting on the Internet reminds me of a television commercial a few years ago where a woman is talking to her friend about something she read on the Internet. After all, if it's posted on the Internet, it has to be true, she said.
She then refers to her boyfriend, which from what she read on the Internet was a French model. But when he tries speaking in French, it's obvious that he's not only a big phony but also a big nerd.
This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I avoid stories on social media sites all together. When I feel included to read a story, I'm looking for ones that came from reputable news sites where trained reporters with years of experience are putting together stories with information "vetted" from reputable sources.
And by "reputable," I mean that there's an actual name associated with the source of the information.
For the sake of avoiding the possibility of hearing something from a single news source, I tend to search through multiple news sites in hopes of getting the best possible perspective. Many times, that allows me to stumble across a fact I didn't see in another story, or I'll read something that generates another question I hadn't considered previously.
But it still doesn't help the fact that I'm still having to deal with the onslaught of stories dealing with the upcoming presidential election. I really wish there was a way to simply tell my computer to show me anything not directly tied to politics so I can get to the other news out there.
Maybe I'm just being a cynic or I'm simply worn out, but I really don't want to constantly read about about Donald Trump's latest verbal hand grenade or Hillary Clinton's latest attempt to avoid taking responsibility for her actions as secretary of state.
Then again, I could always read about the other news happening around the world by reading about it on social media sites. After all, someone out there is always dating a French model.
-- Brian S. Orban