First, out the gate let’s clear up the title of the post. It’s an attention grabber, not my personal action. Not only did I vote, but I voted early, carefully, with critical cognition and a sincere regard for both perspectives. As I have said and will continue to say we must ALL vote, and vote with an ever-aspiring critical thinking mind.
And vote in this manner is exactly what I did, following my own process of 3FE: Find, Focus, establish the Fundamentals, Execute. I followed the process with a regard for first myself, then my family, then my community, my town, city, state, and nation. That is the 3FE critical thinker’s process, and I adhered to it.
Now, to be sure I was visibly shaken by the election’s outcome, but I rationalized the results and looked only at the facts, pushing back any negative emotions. I understand just how deeply divided our nation is, how daunting it is to cross the ideological divide. However, to still see so many of my fellow Americans stay aligned with the Trump agenda was for me very disappointing. It speaks loudly to tribalism, identity politics, me-first culture, compassionless perspective, and plain outright fear, which when stoked appropriately can descend into outright racism and actions antithetical to the uplift of humans in a descent and dare I say it Christian capacity. Truly, what would Jesus do?
The facts of the situation exposed a flaw in the Critical Thinker’s approach to voting. However, that is not the focus of this post. It’s about those out there who still refuse to vote, those who stand proud as non-participants in the process. It’s about those who refuse to exercise the franchise.
I felt compelled to write this after seeing a post about people jumping on Keri Hilson for voicing her frustration with non-voters. In searching for a good image I found a blog article by Jay Alan detailing his reasons for not voting in 2016. The image I’m using is the same one he used. After reading his article I felt the need to respond, but as ever respond with a mind for perspective and a desire to close the divide, to find common ground, because that is what ever-aspiring critical thinkers are supposed to do.
In Jay’s article (link at end of this article) his primary complaint is people telling him he does not have a right to complain about the government and its elected officials if he did not vote. He’s absolutely right. He definitely has the right to complain. In fact my hope would be that his complaining and posting would be loud enough to draw positively engaging people with counterpoints. Of course, given our online culture any dialogue would probably attract far more negative people and the discussion would descend into ad-hominem attacks and trolling. We have to move beyond this type of combative online convo. We have to aspire to be better.
As I read the rest of Jay’s article I had to smile. To me, the solution is a simple matter of continued thought and consideration, a desire to do something, anything to make things better, no matter how small. Primarily Jay’s article is actually a powerful treatise on why everyone that can should exercise the franchise, complete with horrifying pictures of a future apocalypse through rising despotism in a fascist regime. It’s almost funny.
He says it himself, nothing’s changing, things are getting no better. Logically, literally logically, things do not get better when doing nothing results in nothing being done. Deepen the logic. Inaction can have a positive result if the variables of the situation tend towards better outcomes, that is if one does not act upon the situation. Sometimes leaving something alone can make it better, or allow it to heal. However, examine our politics through the same lens. Inaction upon our polity does not move politicians, or the policies they enact. People live in push and pull. If we do neither, then our desired outcome has little to no chance of occurring. In his article he clearly wants things to get better. This will not happen if he does not participate in the process.
The same applies to those that are attacking Keri Hilson. Online I saw people talking about how she hasn’t had a song in ten years, so she needs to take several seats or something. One has nothing to do with the other, more ad-hominem attacks.
I saw one guy say he puts his faith in God and does good work in the community through education and helping kids, and that his vote is a waste of time and energy. He says that all his faith and energy in God will win the day. I’m sorry to say, this man clearly does not understand the way his world works. Living in the world you believe in, carries great value. I will never fault a person for their belief in God.
However, it has become abundantly clear to me that God truly helps those who help themselves. And in this world, if you would have a positive impact on children and the educational system then you must do all you can to penetrate the politics of education. This man clearly does not understand how his tax dollars are allocated, why they are allocated the way they are allocated, and how that school superintendent who he refused to vote for or against has a direct impact on just how much money is available to do good work for schools in his community.
It’s simple really. Either you participate and help change things or you don’t. If things aren’t to your liking, and you don’t participate, then yes you are free to complain. Just excuse the rest of us if we decide to tune you out. The best of us will wait for you to stop complaining, and then we’ll try to get you to participate.
But look, you can’t be mad at those of us who call you all kinds of names and say you are disgracing your ancestors. You may think you aren’t, but you are. If you are American-African then your ancestors died in numbers so you could exercise the franchise. Make no mistake, you are disgracing them. However, this is America, you are free to do so.
A final note on the flaw in my logic. I always ask that you start the voting process by considering yourself. My failure in that logic is my propensity to engage in the platinum rule as I consider myself and expand my perspective to my fellow Americans.
The platinum rule supersedes the golden rule in that it demands that you treat others how THEY want to be treated over how you want to be treated. What does this mean? This means if I am a white voter I have to take a pause and even if I’m afraid that black and brown people are overrunning my country I should let go of the negative emotions that FOX news creates in me.
I should think about what I really may know, or even look it up, that people of color have and continue to suffer in vast numbers and they just want to be treated fairly. I have to think that the health care I derided because somehow it just didn’t feel right, maybe because of where I thought the idea came from, is now actually helping my friend’s mother survive cancer.
If I’m a voter of color I should think very carefully about my desire to want to be part of a class that I consider above my station, that my desire to so strongly be seen by others as on their side can possibly cloud my thinking and my perspective, that my desire to get off of a perceived plantation will result in an outcome, but is it the one I and my family truly need? I must consider it critically.
As we vote, and hopefully vote with a critical thinking mind, once we begin the activity of vetting the candidate, perhaps we start first with what that candidate’s policy positions will mean for our fellow citizens of different ethnicities, gender, and sexual orientation. Indeed, given my belief in doing good, I would ask what would Jesus truly do?
Consider all this critically, and truly be good to yourselves, and each other.
Jay Alan’s Article: http://bit.ly/JayAlanArticle