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6 simple steps to cure your political addiction

November 06, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • A voter in Lancaster, Ohio, gets up after filling out a paper ballot during the final day of early voting in the state.
A voter in Lancaster, Ohio, gets up after filling out a paper ballot during… (Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty…)

Hi, my name is Paul, and I’m a political addict.

It’s the first step to recovery, right? Admitting you need help.

Well, Tuesday is here.  But I’m not thinking of it as election day.  To me, it’s Day 1 on the road to recovery. 

Join me, fellow politico-holics. We can do it.  Here’s how:

Step 1: Stop reading the poll stories. Even the exit poll ones. It’s silly. Real votes from real voters will be counted in no time.  Except in Ohio. And probably Florida. You know, the states that matter, although not when it comes to raising money. Also known, at least in California, as states we left to come live here in paradise.

Step 2: Stop clicking obsessively on The Times’ interactive electoral college map. Why? (See Step 1.)

Step 3: Stop reading the comment boards. No matter how you slice it, all of the country’s problems can’t be the fault of the media, or the government, or the courts, or Republicans, or Democrats, or your silly Aunt Minnie, who heard from a friend of a friend at her hairdresser’s that Mitt Romney was an alien or Barack Obama was a communist Muslim. 

Step 4: Repeat this to yourself (quietly, otherwise people will think you’re talking on one of those smartphone mics that make you look really stupid): All Democrats aren’t freeloaders; all Republicans aren’t robber barons. Some of your neighbors are one or the other. Sure, you don’t like some of your neighbors. But as long as they clean up after their dogs, who cares. All politics and dog poop are local, right?

Step 5: Write this down and read it every time your head is about to explode: Whoever wins, the country isn’t going to go to hell in a handbasket, be attacked by Iran/Russia/North Korea, become socialist/Marxist/Ayn Randist (I made that last one up but it’s pretty clever, huh?) or get so bad that you'll have to move to Canada. Besides, it’s cold in Canada a lot of the time. Though they do have free healthcare if you get the flu or something.

Step 6: No matter who wins, don’t watch MSNBC. Or Fox News. Watch ESPN. Or “Mad Men.” Or anything on the History Channel. Don’t watch “American Idol” or those other reality shows. Especially anything with the Kardashians. They’re not addicting, but they may make you want to do meth, which is.

Well, that about covers it.

What, you thought it was a 12-step program? That’s AA. This is QP (Quitting Politics). Six steps should be plenty.

If not, here’s one extra, just in case:

Super Duper Step 7: You only have to hang in there for 3 1/2 years  Then we’ll do it again.

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