No matter your political affiliation, we get it: the world's lousy (or totally cool, depending on your outlook on life.) And what better time of year to profess your allegiance to whatever ideology seems best than election season? That's a completely rhetorical question, of course. Election season seems to bring out the worst in people; whether it's a barrage of all-caps tweets or the perfectly normal conversation you were having with a friend who suddenly starts cutting a pro wrestling style promo on you about politics.

We have elections. They're not going anywhere anytime soon. And they happen at the state and federal level every two years (see: The Constitution of The United States of America). We're going to have to deal with elections and the people who vote in them as well as the negative ad blitzes leading up to election day. However, there are some things that you can do to stay sane during Montana election season.

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You're Going To See Red Hats & Blue Bumper Stickers. Get Over It.

How do you feel when you see a MAGA hat or a Biden t-shirt? Does it stir animosity, the kind of "wake the beast within" rage that you'd think would be reserved for seeing a grown adult splattering ketchup all over their well-done ribeye?

This is going to be a recurring theme: other people think differently, and there's very little you can do about it. Some people aren't going to be voting for the same candidates and issues you are. Will the world plunge into armageddon at this very moment if you don't get angry and act out against someone who's probably just driving to the grocery store?

Even though you might not like the idea of the other side, they have allies who like to fly their flags. It's best to treat others respectfully, just like you'd do if it wasn't election season (or at the very least, resist the urge to run them off the road.)

Be Careful How You Use Social Media

Earlier this year, we published a piece about why Montanans should get off TikTok, mostly because it's an unsecure app that delivers personal information directly to the Chinese Communist Party, and could be used as a tool to serve up distrust in our government. Hey, if I was trying to undermine America, that's what I'd do...

RELATED: Should Montanans Delete TikTok?

That aside, Facebook is a popular way for Montanans get their news. It's very tempting to get into the comment section to share knee-jerk reactions and primal opinions. Social media has evolved into echo chambers when it comes to hot button issues; we tend to be friends with people who share our ideologies, so unleashing a "DEAR INTERNET..." letter onto your news feed has little chance to change anyone's mind.

There's no hard data available on Facebook demographics but based on advertising numbers in 2022, adults 25-34 make up the majority of daily users. They've likely decided who they're voting for already. If you absolutely can't stay off Facebook, try to take a breath or two before you comment on political content.

Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin

The most important key on the keyboard.

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Change The Topic

I've had to use this one on friends who are much more into the political badgering that spikes during an election cycle than I am. They'll say things like, "Oh man, did you see the debate last night? That stupid [insert politician's name here] is gonna RUIN us!"

And I get to use the most fun tool I have in my bag. "Naw dude, I didn't see it. Did you see how much the Griz are favored by on Saturday?" Shifting the conversation to literally anything but politics can cut off the negativity before it has a chance to fester.

One More Thing

On November 8th, there's going to be winners and losers. Whining about the results isn't going to change them, and hating others because of who they're voting for isn't the best thing for anyone's mental health including yours. The best advice I have to stay sane during Montana's 2022 election cycle is to VOTE, and then live your life and try to stay positive.

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