Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are introduced during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman).
The youth of America are certainly not what they have been in the past.
While young adults of the Greatest Generation fought valiantly for freedom and against fascism, the kids of today are recovering from the trauma of the last presidential election.
Yes, you read that correctly.
According to a new study done by academics at San Francisco State University, approximately 1 in 4 students view the 2016 election as a major psychological event. In fact, the levels of stress are such that it crosses over into the post-traumatic stress disorder territory, emphasis mine.
“What we were interested in seeing was, did the election for some people constitute a traumatic experience? And we found that it did for 25 percent of young adults,” said lead author Melissa Hagan, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.
In the months after the November election, Hagan and her colleagues knew that many of their students had been deeply affected. And a handful of surveys at the time confirmed that the election was a source of stress for people all over the country.
“The scale is used to gauge the extent to which individuals have been impacted by an event in such a way that it might lead to diagnosable post-traumatic stress disorder,” explained Hagan.
Twenty-five percent of students surveyed crossed that threshold, showing “clinically significant” levels of stress. The average stress score of students was comparable to the scores of witnesses to a mass shooting seven months after the event.
There are really no words except for these: grow up.
The last presidential election cycle was a nonstop barrage of speeches, soundbites, insults, pitches, punditry, and contentious debates. To be sure, most – if not all – of us were glad when it was over. Nearly a year-and-a-half of campaigning finally ended with Donald Trump’s victory on election night, November 8, 2016.
No matter how much you dislike the sitting president or the woman who lost to him, there is no way that the events of that time period are akin to the type of trauma one experiences during war, terror, or as victims of or witnesses to acts of violence, like a mass shooting. At least, this is true of those who view life through a lens of common sense.
According to the study, certain groups felt more stress than others.
Black and nonwhite Hispanic students scored higher on the assessment than their white classmates, for instance. Gender, political affiliation and religion all played even larger roles. Females scored about 45 percent higher than males on the assessment, and Democrats scored more than two and a half times higher than Republicans.
It’s safe to say that when it comes to politics, the groups who scored higher in the trauma category as it pertains to the last election are quite often the ones who are fed a steady diet of fear. Minorities are told that Republicans not only don’t care about them but actually seek to make their lives worse by stripping them of opportunities and stifling their voices. Women, too are told that the GOP wants them to suffer by way of restricting their freedoms, especially when it comes to reproduction. I’ve heard the same from some in the LGBT community who were convinced that the Trump administration would target them and their sexuality.
Of course, none of this has occurred, but the fears remain, for they are powerful motivational tools for the other side. In other words, you can chalk up much of this PTSD-type stress as being induced by Democrats.
There is no debate as to whether the 2016 presidential election was divisive. The proof was right before us then and we continue to see it now. No, the division in our country is not a good thing but neither is it similar to the kind of mental anguish that comes as a result of a serious incident far beyond the scope of an American election.
I’d like to say these foolish claims will be a one-time thing, but given the current state of politics and the approaching 2020 election season, it’s safe to say we’ll see them yet again.