203 days of eternity

There are 203 days left and we’re already waiting for the presidential election to be over.

We know we’re not alone. The media onslaught that came with Ohio’s March 4 primary exhausted everyone’s election energy. We’re sick of hearing about it, thinking about it and arguing about it. We know it’s not the only important national news, and we want to focus on something else.

We’re all suffering from election fatigue, a chronic American side effect of our ever-pervasive, ever-growing voting cycle.

Election fatigue can be difficult to cure, with some voters never recovering and avoiding election news even if it means taking extreme measures — not voting. Others push through the symptoms (bitterness, hopelessness and headaches) and continue to watch the national news daily, searching for some sign of intelligent thought.

The candidates themselves seem to have contracted a mild strain of the virus as they bicker over whiskey shots and hometown preachers. We can hope that the candidates will overcome and use the remaining time to hone their positions and develop opinions on topics they have been silent about, but we know they probably won’t.

If anything, they will wait until the general election officially kicks off, then redefine most of their positions and hope the war-weary electorate listens only to what they’re saying, not what they have said.

Though our fatigue is understandable, it is unfortunate that it prevents us from demanding intelligent dialogue from the candidates and media. We should expect more of them and refuse to be party to candidates raking in funds while sluggishly furthering their often hypocritical platforms.

We refuse to be another casualty in this epidemic. So we present our three-step home remedy for conquering election fatigue:

1. Take a break — Turn off the television, put down the newspapers and magazines and stop making CNN the third Web site you check in the morning (after Gmail and Facebook). Ignore all political news for at least seven days. Use your time to enjoy the eventual nice weather or maybe return your mother’s phone calls. (Our Pennsylvania-native friends may want to hold out a little longer before taking this step).

2. Ignore pundits — When you feel sufficiently rested, make a slow return to the political circus. Read one news article a day (we suggest The New York Times, which tends to be more thorough and less childish) and ignore all forms of pundits, be they bloggers, talking heads or ranting friends.

3. Think for yourself — Develop your own ideas on the candidates, their takes on the issues and to which issues you feel they should pay more attention. Make time to process the messages being fed to you, and don’t take anything at face value.

(Warning: Common side effects include elation, motivation and renewed hope in democracy).

203 days. We can make it.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.