Yep, the election is in full swing.

You can almost smell the desperation and longing for attention. As a person who dislikes politics in all forms, here’s a little survivor’s guide to making it out of this election with at least some of your sanity, and a little bit of faith in people.

The amount of “umpteen million dollars for whatever” promises made on a campaign trail is inversely proportional to the amount of power parties have. The weakest party can make the most promises because they are the least likely party to form government and can afford to say pretty much whatever they want without having to worry about backing up their promises.

I’m not calling anyone a liar, but keep it in mind the next time you hear someone say “oh well party X is going to give Y amount of dollars to Z.” They might actually mean it, but they are also trying to get you on their side.

If you are going to vote, stay informed. If you want to know what a candidate is about, call their campaign office and ask. Listen to what the candidates are saying and analyze their output. Read the papers, listen to the radio, and just generally pay attention. There are few things more irritating to me than “political” people who are clueless when it comes to politics. “I’m voting for party X because they are the best” does not an informed voter make.

I will keep making this request to the general public every time an election comes along because people refuse to listen: Stop making a Q and A with candidates about yourselves. Ask your question. Seriously. Don’t start preaching. Don’t start talking about why an issue is important to you. Don’t single out a party. Just… just don’t. Say your name, ask your question quickly, and without preamble, then sit down and listen to the answer. It baffles me why people would go to a political gathering and try to make it all about themselves. Granted, most things about politics baffles me, but here we are.

I assure you, rambling on while people are waiting for you to get to the point is not endearing you to anyone. If anything, it is making the majority of the room angry. (I realize this is more for my sanity than yours but I count too, don’t I?)

As an addendum to the previous item, if you are attending a debate, please listen. Don’t come with an agenda. I am wary enough about the efficacy of debates.

Sure, they seem to be a good way for people to hear directly from candidates, but they usually dissolve into a mess of jeering and people talking over one another. Listen to what the candidates have to say, then go home and figure out which candidate made the most sense.

Breathe. If getting my behind handed to me for the past year at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu taught me anything, it is to keep breathing. Breathing will help you stay calm and keep you from doing something stupid, like acting out at a debate or randomly screaming nonsense at candidate. (Yes, I’ve seen both of these things happen and it always ends with someone either highly embarrassed or ostracized.)

Keep it chill, folks. The world existed before the election and will continue to do so long after the election is over. We’re all in this together. No need to make it any more uncomfortable for yourself or others.

I’m done now.

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Antigonish native Matt Draper has been a photographer, reporter and columnist for The Reporter since 2003.