2016 has been a particularly stressful election cycle. Civil discourse gave way to hateful rhetoric, dismissive sarcasm and finger-pointing. We are all on edge, frazzled and exhausted.
My stress manifests itself in a glorious combination of gastro-intestinal and epidermal expressions. I’ve been bloated for weeks. My lips are perennially cracked and my skin has been raw and dull since August. Today I woke up with knives in my gut and acid in my esophagus. I’m fairly certain my body is currently flaking off my outer layer of skin in hopes of shedding this whole mess. It’s delightful.
I’m sure you’ve got some fun ones too: fingernails that have been chewed to the beds for months, hair that’s falling out, heartburn that won’t go away, a new gut tire that showed up uninvited in spite of your strict diet, general unexplained irritability. It’s all stress.
I’d really like to believe that after today, it will all get better, but frankly the real work begins tomorrow. Tomorrow, someone will be the President-elect. Tomorrow, the American public and our government will have to assess the damage from this tactless election cycle and correct course.
We have to find a way to work together. We have to learn to disagree respectfully. I’ll refrain from apocalyptic ruminations about what will happen if we don’t, and simply say: the stakes are high.
And frankly, my poor body could really use a break from these astronomical levels of cortisol. I want to read the news and feel hope. I want us to be able to disagree without destroying our precious facebook friendships. I want glowing skin and a happy gut.
For the sake of the nation – and my vanity – let’s bring civility back to our political discourse, one conversation, post and tweet at a time.