"Adversaries" image by Bill B, on Flickr, through CreativeCommons
I've loved politics pretty much my entire adult life, both Canadian and U.S. I've always been an enthusiastic and avid follower and I've been known to watch every rally, speech and debate. I've also been known to stay up half the night waiting for the last vote to be counted.
You may find this extreme, but I even watched President Obama's 2008 inauguration (albeit with a 12-hour time difference) while at a remote hilltop resort (7500 feet above sea level) in Southern India. There was only one TV, in a room off the dining room and I watched with political junkies from other parts of India, Germany, France, the U.K., Australia and Canada.
So you won't be at all surprised to learn that this year's presidential race has had me glued to my television and also reading every article in the NY Times, the Washington Post and everything else I've seen posted on social media by others.
Now you're probably thinking I am bat-shit crazy. There could be some truth in that, especially when you consider I'm Canadian. I can't vote and regardless of who wins, I won't be affected -- at least not directly.
Be that as it may, I've been obsessed and I'm not alone; and for good reason.
There's never been an election like this one, ever ...
Donald Trump is probably the most unqualified individual ever to run for public office anywhere, let alone one of the world's greatest super powers (although the mere fact he's gotten this far makes me question that.) As if that were not enough to disqualify him his character, or lack thereof, is so bad he should be in the Guinness Book of Records.
Cheating, lying, insulting, bullying and demeaning people is the norm for him. He's refused to pay for work he's commissioned, he's screwed charities, he's incited violence from his supporters and invited enemies of the U.S. to hack government (and his opponent's) email servers, he's okay with nuclear weapons, he wants to abandon allies, he's a racist and a misogynist, he makes fun of those with disabilities ... and that's just some of his transgressions.
And the pandora's box of hatred he's unlocked scares the bejesus out of me.
Yes, I know, Hillary Clinton has her issues. She most certainly does. But how anyone who is even remotely sane, possessing even modest intelligence, could choose him over her I will never understand. Even when you're fed up with politicians, even when you're angry and frustrated and tired and every day's a struggle.
Because he is dangerous, ignorant, incapable and will not make it better. He is not a viable option. And neither are Jill Stein or Gary Johnson (third party candidates) who haven't a hope in hell of even coming close to winning -- even if hell froze over. All voting for them will do is hand your vote to Trump.
Once the conventions were over I really needed a break from it all ...
The ugliness of it all finally got to me. Maybe it was Rudy Giuliani, completely unglued, screaming like a madman at the Republican National Convention ... maybe it was just one too many libelous lie that was ignored by the media ... maybe it was Hillary Clinton being held accountable for things she had nothing to do with while Donald Trump gets away with anything and everything, but I had to walk away from it.
My resistance was becoming too low. I was taking it all too seriously. I could no longer listen to his surrogates, who categorically refuse to admit he's ever wrong. I could no longer tolerate the endless speculation as to why he got as far as he did, what it would take to stop him, what Hillary should or shouldn't do, should or shouldn't say, how she should behave. I was just too stressed.
So I tuned out. Cold turkey, too. It wasn't gradual. One day I just stopped watching television, not just the news, everything. I stopped reading anything to do with politics. I played with my cats, saw friends, did some reading, did some writing for clients and for myself and cooked up a storm. Anything to avoid the election.
Until the first presidential debate ...
How could I not watch? Really. Thankfully Hillary was totally on her game, knew exactly how to get under his skin and then, with a huge smile on her face, watched him become more and more unhinged. She truly looked like she was having a great time.
Trump, on the other hand, fidgeted and fussed, sniffed and snorted, got red in the face, stumbled, stuttered, sputtered and blew it. He showed himself to be the ignorant, uninformed, rude, ill-behaved adolescent he is.
After a two-month respite, 90 minutes is all it took. I'm hooked again.
If you enjoyed this story click on "become a fan" at the top of the article, right next to my name. You'll be notified every time I post.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook