OBASEKI | We Should Be Pursuing Political Serenity

The political world can be too all-encompassing. Of course, those who believe that everything is political will take issue with that statement, but it is not unreasonable to propose that one’s personal life ought to be divided from a life rife with division and inevitable conflict. I won’t litigate whether all things are political here (though they aren’t), but I will criticize the nature of our political environment today. Too often people worry about what is beyond their control, dwell on inconsequential things, and wallow in the negative emotions that stem from those anxieties. It has gotten to the point where 65% of Americans associate politics with a feeling of exhaustion, yet political engagement is at a record high. At Cornell, we cannot go a day without a politically-divisive event or decision, and the coverage thereof. This is not to say that political engagement is unhealthy. We simply have to be more mindful about our manner of engagement, lest we lead a life without peace of mind. 

Control

It is well-documented that anxiety tends to stem from a lack of control over one’s environment. Be it a worry of how our professors will grade our work, or on which blue moon the next TCAT bus will arrive, we often find ourselves in distress because of our inability to have the world as we want it to be. The same applies to anger, because the frustrations of our day-to-day worries mixed with our inability to correct the wrongs of the world, tend to build up to a point of baseline aggravation. Yet, we constantly focus on political events and circumstances well beyond our control. That is not to say do nothing, or do not worry about them. There is always something to do. But it can be good toafford ourselves a certain level of serenity in how much of our time and emotional strength we commit to these things. Unhealthy engagement can become damaging to the cause, or to our commitment to it. 

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