Welcome to the club. What club is that? Discussing how to vote is not a new subject for me. What you are about to find out is my history of answering this question is a different discussion from who I think the best candidate is.
Vote Your Conscience
When Clinton was running against Dole, I was working the election in Rumford, Maine. We were not allowed to wear any hats, shirts, or other items that represented any particular person running for office. I was wearing a button that said, vote your conscience.
Wow, the Democrat workers were very upset that I was allowed to wear the button, at first. They thought the button was because Clinton was accused of sexual harassment. They did not realize it was also for me a protest against Dole. My family is faith oriented, and we don’t support abortion. Jeanine and I went to the state convention as delegates, and some local Republican’s were upset that we had not supported Dole. The vote your conscience point was an honest one. The point did not favor either party as Dole also voted differently than my wife supported with our votes.
If your conscience believed Clinton was innocent of accusations, then vote your conscience. I cannot help but laugh at the similarity to this election on that issue. I have my opinion, but you should not be casting my vote, you should be casting yours. All I ask is for you to vote your conscience. Again, this is not a request to vote my conscience; it is to vote yours.
Open Discussion Works
Years ago, one election year in Rumford Maine we hosted a show with the state candidates. We invited both Republicans and Democrats to come and do a show. We gave each candidate an hour of their own show. My political activity was enough for the other party to know my background and this made them very nervous. They still came. What was funny was over and over the candidates thanked me for an honest interview. That must be why Fox and CNN never offered me a job!
If someone shares an honest opinion that doesn’t match yours, be gracious. Let your neighbor know you appreciate them having a civil conversation and being honest about the real reasons they are voting the way they vote. Everyone makes more progress when we learn to resolve conflict and share thoughts openly. I remember a teacher at college saying, ‘Nobody ever erected a statue to a critic.’ They had a point that was worth giving time for thinking. Who wants to be the best cynic? Who wants to spend time with the best cynic in town?
How To Vote
In looking at President, these are four standards that I use when choosing.
- Will their management be any better in reality?
- What will the impact of their promises be?
- Will we avoid anything critical by not having their opponent?
- Does this candidate have challenges that are likely to mess anything up?
Less Mud, More Substance
- Should we put up pictures of the candidates that we know make them look bad?
- Shall we write headlines that resemble childish name calling?
- Will we be telling jokes that have nothing to do with truth, to campaign against our opponents?
Could It Be That Simple
I was talking with a friend today, and after we had chatted for a season, he asked if it could be that simple? Why? It was the discussion that follows here that turned on the lights for him.
We keep electing our candidates because we want the person who is most electable. What does most electable mean? Apparently electable means the other party is determining who we vote for rather than the principles of the party to which we belong. It is not about our values; it is about preventing ‘them’ from winning.
We are not choosing to believe that selecting leaders we believe in is the best path. We are picking people to prevent the other party from being elected. Here is an irony. Often the younger generation does better at this than, the older generation. Sadly, they are falling into our bad habits instead of paving a new future far too often.
The simple truth, is we are not getting quality elected officials because our system is pointing them in the wrong direction. They want to make a difference, but we have a system that changes how they think. As we yield to believing the only way to make a difference is to give into the system, we lose creativity.
This was when my friend shared his shock. Could the core of the problem could be this simple?
Send Us Leaders
We live in a day where both Republicans and Democrats are wrapped up in blaming the other party. In a recent article on Real Racial Progress, we talked about what Gandhi did to change a nation. Let me ask a question. What political office did Gandhi hold?
How can a person who is never elected do more to turn a nation around than any presidential candidate I have seen in the office in my lifetime? Not only did he figure out how to break the irons of control from the United Kingdom’s occupation, but he also stopped the violent rebellion that was rising as an alternate solution.
Who’s Vote Are You Casting
Perhaps, rather than being afraid that your vote doesn’t make a difference we should rethink who is casting our vote. Do we vote with the party because we hate the other party? Hate is always easy to justify because each group has faults.
The political parties are building ranks and maintaining position by turning us into bigots? Or was it just the other party doing that? Stop just a moment and think about that. I see this with both Republicans and Democrats. People who possess intelligence but choose to go the way of the bigot. Why do we speak so poorly about people who are different than us?
We Can Be Better Than That
Who do you want to be tomorrow? Let us live in a great country without being destroyed getting there? Do we believe it is impossible to get there being great people? Is greatness a rare quality and if too many people are great others cannot be great also?
If people have problems, why not be what you want them to be. Why not show them greatness works. Why not show them what your party stands for rather than slander and hate? Where is the genuine compassion? Can we raise up and stop acting out?
It is time for us to act our age. It is time for us to mute the television when improper political ads come on from any party. We should speak louder to our own party about bad citizenship than we do about the other party. We should click on the don’t follow on Facebook when we see someone poisoning our minds with useless posts. If we stop giving them a platform, they will at least see it no longer fuels the flame.
How will you influence your government today?