I was asked why I don’t post on politics anymore. The thought was that I did have an impact. My response was that it is entirely too time consuming with no real ROI, Return On Investment. Despite any impact my words may have had I found it fruitless to dive deep into the ideological divide and the swamp of identity politics with facts, point and perspective, going back and forth with people who choose their sides and speak loudly from their own echo chambers. People choose their sides and then choose to not listen.
Plus, the bottom line as that the mediums on which we post are profit centers specifically engineered to consume our time, hold our attention, and drive us to consumption, while locking us endlessly into the platform. We lose our ability to engage in the real world when we spend an inordinate amount of time engaging in the virtual, such that it is.
So, the discussion pivoted to what could I do, what would I do, if there were still a few people who might listen? That answer through introspection and focus became simple. There is value in engaging on online platforms, from using them for fun, social responsibility, profit making, to education. All these apply in the aggregate as well as for the individual. I believe my value can be found in sharing what I’ve learned and how I have decided to proceed in all my endeavors, including my politics.
With that in mind, with regard to the upcoming election I would say each of you spread the word that there is a day of responsibility fast approaching. I would ask that you think deeply about the responsibility of the franchise, and how in all the world the experiment that is the American right to vote is perhaps the best, most stable example of the voting process.
I would say you are not living up to your responsibility as a citizen of this country if you do not exercise the franchise. I would say that in America you are free, though that freedom is complex, fraught with flaws and failures, it is still yours, and if you would protect it, seek to correct it, evolve it for the better, then it is demanded of you that you act, that you exercise the franchise. You must vote.
And finally, in keeping with all that I am pushing, more so with focus than I have before, I would ask that we embrace critical thinking, for it is the balm for that which ails us. Only critical thinking can free us from our echo chambers. Only real critical thinking can allow us to overcome our hardwiring for ideology and identity politics, only the questions of the critical thinking mind can drive us to see each other as human, that we are all Americans, and that we must take a breath, and realize that when we start by seeing each other as evil with no hope of redemption, then the prospect of all of us living free as we see fit is doomed from the start.
In voting, I would ask that you use 3FE: Find, Focus, establish your Fundamental Plan, and Execute. Find the details about your candidates. Who are you voting for? Why are you voting for them? What have they done to earn your vote? When have they earned your vote, on what issues, and are they consistent? How have they earned your vote? Where are they active in what they do? Ask the critical questions.
Focus on the questions freeing yourself from the identity politics as you ask. Let go of group-think. Cast it out. Toss it away. The critical thinkers voting process is thus:
- Consider the candidate in terms of what they have done and what they say they can do for you.
- Consider the candidate in terms of what they have done and what they say they can do for your family.
- Consider the candidate in terms of what they have done and what they say they can do for your community.
- Consider the candidate in terms of what they have done and what they say they can do for your town or city.
- Consider the candidate in terms of what they have done and what they say they can do for your state.
- Consider the candidate in terms of what they have done and what they say they can do for your country.
- Consider the candidate in terms of what they have done and what they say they can do for the world.
Have you been to the candidate’s website? Have you read their platform? Do you know what a platform is? Again, an informed electorate is a powerful electorate. Each of us must hold each other up and support each other on the facts. Does the candidate note have a platform? Do they just have videos and no written words? If they do not write, or cannot write, or won’t make time to write what they have done and what they will do then as a critical thinker you must question their ability to lead. What role are they seeking to fill? Think about that role and apply it to the questions above.
Even if the candidate is running for a local council seat, ask those questions. Think about what the future might be like if the candidate seeks higher office. Consider their intelligence, their temperament, their character. DON’T CONSIDER THE PARTY, consider the person. In these times most candidates will fall in line with their party, but it is incumbent upon you as the critical thinker that asks the right questions to demand that your candidate only embrace and follow the party when it will help their constituency and buck the party when it will not, BE A MAVERICK WHEN IT IS REQUIRED, no matter the threats they may receive from party leadership. These are the kind of politicians we need.
Consider those questions before you vote. Look at the ballot in your precinct. Then, plan who you are going to vote for in each position. Then, on election day, execute. Vote, and be proud of having voted, with the consideration and understanding of why you voted the way did.
Georgia Sample Ballot: http://bit.ly/GAsampleballot
And always, always remember the hallmark of the critical thinker as you exercise the franchise. It will help you disavow the pervasive power of identity politics that clouds all of our minds and prevents us from thinking for ourselves. The hallmark of the critical thinker is the sincere ability to seek to understand and internalize the perspectives of others, most especially when that perspective is diametrically, or even violently opposed to our own.
Consider it critically. Vote!