How do you contribute a heartfelt political thought in all of the noise?
I started (and deleted) a post tonight in the aftermath of the Vice Presidential debates – not only because I got stuck in the middle and wasn’t sure how to express myself – but also because I realized that the very act of expressing a meaningful political sentiment these days has become a public, polarizing act. The very idea of agreeing to disagree seems tough to find both in social media and elsewhere – and makes me wonder what constitutes a meaningful political sentiment any more. I try to add folks of all political stripes to my reading, my listening, and my conversation so that I don’t get just one view to rule them all.
A Modest Proposal: Engage.
So here’s a try to contribute more substance to the half-truths and mostly-falses from this campaign season (hint: if you want political debate in this space, I suggest you go instead to Politifact and read more of their analysis). First, I hope that you educate yourself on your candidate (and on the opposing candidate. It’s really important to know that you’re never going to know enough to make a perfect choice when it comes to elections. Whether it’s a local school board or the election for the presidency, so much of life is showing up and so being prepared when you show up is even better. (And Register to Vote!)
Once you show up, make sure that you actually vote. This one’s key – you can’t complain about the other candidate unless you vote – and voting rates in the US have hovered around 50% in Presidential Elections for a while. That means your vote counts roughly twice as much when you show up and vote. So do it.
And Try to Be Respectful and (gasp) civic.
And finally, remember that whoever wins, you actually have to work with other party to get stuff done – because we live and work in a representative democracy, you might not even end up liking the candidate in your own party. And if you only throw brickbats on social media and don’t actually vote, you don’t get the right to complain.