According to Stoicism, hope and fear are dangerous emotions that are irrational since they encourage us to designate external circumstances as good or bad, which from the Stoic perspective are a matter of indifference and have no bearing on our personal happiness. The Stoic theory of emotions provides a basis for identifying the dangers of hope and fear in contemporary American politics. Drawing on examples from the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections in which the American electorate experienced much hope and fear, this article explains how abandoning emotional gratification provides a more rational and compassionate approach to political engagement.
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