The 2020 Election Survival Guide
It’s November 2019 and the color-drenched leaves and hot
apple cider can no longer protect me. The countdown to the
2020 election has begun. Whatever your political stance,
social agenda, or beliefs, I’d wager there’s one emotion the
majority of us feel on some level after the 2016 circus: dread.
No, I don’t refer to the election results, or merely the
presidential race. Rather, the absurdity, chaos, or all-out
nastiness some folks succumbed to before Santa put us all on
the naughty list. People unleashed words (or worse) they
couldn’t take back, leaving others hurt or confused. Neighbors
accused, friendships were lost, even some families felt divided.
In frank terms, people lost their shit.
Okay. If we accept—as a nation—we now share a wary
anticipation of “Decision or Death 2020” we’re ahead. How’s
that for progress? On the first page of this book, we can agree
on something. Unity!
So, how do we deal with the election tsunami as we wade
through news, debates, and water cooler chats that involve
phrases like: “I’m not saying you’re that like, I just don’t
understand how anyone can vote for . . .” How do we remain
focused, productive, and maintain an inner peace regardless of
who wins? Should we explore options through reflection and
I contemplation? Sure. But humor is just as important.
This journal attempts to address both.
Tips to Get the Most Out of
1. Consider this guide your “anti” social media. It’s made of
pages for you to touch and turn, complete in any order or
add to over time. (If you have the digital version, recycle
unused pages from a journal or notebook when necessary.)
A canvas of self-expression or an avenue for a laugh.
Embrace the experience of your pen marking the page. Of
stapling the image of your most despised candidate’s mouth
shut or rereading a thoughtful response. Embellish, alter,
destroy at will, but keep it for your eyes, and those in your
most trusted circle, only. Otherwise, if you’re “journaling”
to wow your online friends or followers, you’re not really
doing it for you.
2. For some exercises, try to erase who the candidates are
from your mind. Whoa. Isn’t that what an election is
about—the candidates? What they stand for? (Don’t we
wish elections were only about that!) Yes, a lot of dread
relates to the candidates, but this book isn’t about them, it’s
about you. Your ability to walk the red, white, and blue line
with grace, compassion, and not jump off a cliff.
3. Above all, this journal is in no way an advocate for violence
or true hatred of any kind. It is intended as entertainment,
relaxation, and to assist my fellow Americans with not
taking themselves so seriously. If you harbor or enact
violence toward anyone because their beliefs differ from
yours, be it a candidate or your mailman, you need
professional help. Without exception. Threatening behavior
has no place at a family get-together, rally, online chat,
peaceful protest, or townhall discussion. No one deserves
to be humiliated, injured, or worse because they don’t
agree with you.
Who I am
Your shorter-than-average American writer, mother, and
Midwest blonde. Like you, I’ve endured difficulties, loss, failure,
and as of this writing, only my mother reads my blog. (Thanks,
Mom.) I laugh on roller coasters, cry when great writing affects
me, and confess to watching the 1995 version of Pride and
Prejudice at least a hundred times.
My husband’s military career led us to three of the seven
states I’ve lived in, plus a tour overseas. I’ve traveled abroad
enough to understand how fortunate we are to live in this land.
I don’t have much patience for people who badmouth America
yet have never left the country, let alone their own state. If I
could pick a bumper sticker to describe my outlook on life, it’s a
tossup between Mean People Suck and What if the Hokey Pokey
is really what it’s all about? While I’ve earned a psychology
degree, written ten manuscripts, and raised a child diagnosed
with a mental illness, I possess no stand-out credentials to light
your synapses on fire.
In short, I’m zero percent more special than you. People have
commented my wit is one of my best attributes. Considering you
bought or were gifted this book, let’s hope they’re right. Each
activity stems from my personal experiences, observations, and
desire to promote unity in 2020. I also assume any reader is of
voting age and legally permitted to do so.
Why I Created This Guide
Short answer: The idea came to me while shivering in line,
waiting for an airport shuttle.
Long answer: I hear the buzzword “journey” a lot these days.
Whether it’s an article about an actress reinventing herself or
career progression, it seems everyone is “on” or “deciding” if
they want to take a “journey.” Well, somewhere between the
solid advice and the marketing crap I’ve become a little
journeyed out. And when it comes to the 2020 election, I don’t
even want to buy a ticket no matter how seriously I take my duty
Even so, how much of the 2016 unpleasantness was about
the coverage, candidates, issues, and spin and how much of it
was about ourselves?
As with any election, we will be bombarded with more data,
debates, and commentary than we’ll ever need. How we think
for ourselves is much more important. I crafted this work with
the mind-set that if we keep an open mind and a grateful heart,
inject some humor or maybe learn something new, we can stay
focused on what matters most: our personal relationships,
dignity, and respect for our neighbor and nation. Some exercises
involve self-contemplation, others are a bit absurd. Stretch
outside your comfort zone or stay in your shell—your choice.
We all experience frustration, anger, and fear. We all hold
views on faith, social concerns, and fairness
in the tax structure. Elections magnify these issues and our
choices. When people disagree with us, we become guarded.
When they lash out, we feel attacked.
To me, it’s better to deal with our thoughts and emotions in
constructive ways rather than engaging in social media rants or
staring at your girlfriend like she grew an extra breast when she
votes for “the other guy.” Recognize your viewpoints for what
they are, use this journal’s “safe space” to lose your cool or your
bleepin’ mind. Then accept that no one is right about everything.
My fellow fantastic Americans, it’s not enough to “hope”
2020 isn’t a repeat of social degradation. It’s not enough to
encourage others to be kind so this election cycle goes “better.”
We all helped create the problem, are part of the problem, and
therefore we are the solution. Instead of blaming the democrat,
republican, or independent beside us, we can engage our minds,
sense of humor, and appreciation for what we already have—a
free nation and a voice.
Every Voice Must Be Heard
Write down five qualities you like about yourself. Don’t
be shy or qualify them with “maybes.” State them. Own
those characteristics. Celebrate them.
An example: “I like having six fingers on my right hand
because people will cite that fact for generations after they see
a certain movie.”
Feel free to embellish this page with stickers, doodle, glitter,
or anything else to illustrate what’s so freakin’ awesome about
As American as Apple Pie
in Your Face
Ever want to decimate the image of your most hated
political figure, past or present?
Draw or find a picture of him/her and paste below. Then
smear substances such as coffee, mud, baby food, or banana
cream pie all over the offender’s face to “improve” his/her mug.
If you would rather perform your “artistry” away from the
journal, attach a picture of your masterpiece to this page.
“We hold these truths to
be self-evident . . .”
— The United States Declaration of Independence
That American “truth” do you hold dear? Why does it
matter so much to you?
What is an ideal the majority of people fail to
consider? Is it unpopular? Has no one championed it? Or is it oldfashioned, and you feel modern citizens have gotten away from
The next time you’re outside, find a plant, tree, creature, or
natural occurrence that represents your “truth.” Remember it
whenever you see Mother Nature’s gentle reminder.
How can you tell if an elephant
is in your refrigerator?
Forget the donkey and the elephant. What animal would you
assign for these political entities?
Attach examples to this page, then doodle, glue, or tape
patriotic garb onto each animal.
(FYI: The answer to the ’60s elephant joke: His footprints in the butter.)
Row, row, backward
Find an example of a candidate having to back-pedal on a
statement or action. The type of faux pas that made national
headlines. Do you find that amusing, frustrating, idiotic?
Take a moment to reflect on your reaction. Understand why you
feel that way.
Next, go to two alternate news sources, especially ones you
detest, and see how that same story is por-trayed in that paper
or on that website. You don’t have to agree with the content,
Finally, think of someone who does not share your opinion.
Send good thoughts her way. It doesn’t take agreement to
acknowledge one another as individuals.