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

this Experience

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

to vote.

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.

Including you.

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?

• democrat

• green

• independent

• libertarian

• republican

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

your words

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,

just look.

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.