Adorable Animals Instead of Politicians

by Bob Schwartz

John Boehner - Golden Retriever Puppies
It’s a hard life for a political junkie. Not because politics is difficult to find these days. To the contrary, it is everywhere, all the time. If politics is the drug, there are dealers literally giving it away—begging you to take it—at millions of media storefronts. It’s like Amsterdam, where women are on display behind glass and drugs flow like water—except that it’s all free.

The problem isn’t supply. The problem is that once you’re hooked, after a while you no longer get the thrill you once did. In fact, you often feel pretty bad. But by that time, it’s too late.

Last year was the best and the worst of times for political junkies. Not only was it an election year; it was an election year like none other. Talking heads couldn’t stop talking and we couldn’t stop listening and retorting. But it didn’t make us feel good. Whether we liked the outcome of the elections or not, we felt icky, cynical, pessimistic. Maybe, we hoped, we could get a break, enjoy some spiritual renewal as we celebrated somebody’s—anybody’s—savior being born, and could start a new year clean.

No such luck. Politically, the year ended at a low point, and with the new year, the chances of climbing out of the gutter seem slim. If political junkies could only distance themselves from these shenanigans (a great word Joe Biden used last week), maybe we could clear our heads a little.

Unfortunately, with so many serious issues at stake, staying away seems unlikely. Instead, here is a radical solution that might just help.

Every time a politician is mentioned or shown, imagine an adorable animal. Nothing fierce, nothing threatening, nothing ugly. Something unbearably cute and irresistible, guaranteed to bring a smile, however fleeting, to your face. (Note: If you think that the politician mentioned is adorable, cute and irresistible, no substitution is necessary.)

This is loosely based on various cognitive therapies, but the truth is that there is no real science behind it. On the other hand, there is nothing to lose either. If you’re addicted to politics, very little is going to lift you up right now. Any way you look at it, there are too many politicians and not enough adorable animals. This is just a small step to redress the balance in your unbalanced life.