Just a thought as we all slide down the slippery slope of October that leads to the November elections.
Please, pause and utilize the gift of self-reflection.
If you haven’t done it yet, take out a notebook, scrap paper, or your laptop and write down what you believe your role as a citizen is. What you believe a public servants role should be. Write down what is wrong in our political culture and what is right. Define what you believe and WHY you believe it.
Write down who you plan to vote for and why. Write down WHY you’re voting FOR them, NOT why you’re voting AGAINST someone else.
I have a feeling that this current election is more momentous than others have been in the past, and if we are to get past the division that faces our country, no matter who is elected, we must examine and understand our own beliefs and recognize our own bias. All of us have bias. All of us have blind spots and are guilty of bigotry. The problem isn’t our initial responses and judgements of others based on their race, gender, religion, or political affiliation, the problem is that we allow our first perception to be the only one we believe.
We cling to what we think we know with more pride than prudence.
Our unwillingness to consider where another person stands, and the view from which they see the world, will be our downfall if we do not curb the desire to force capitulation by the “other side”. If you see your acquaintances and neighbors as Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, Atheists, Muslims, Christians, Religious, or Scientific; without seeing a person first, then you need to examine your own bias. If we lead a discussion with closed definitions of one another, the discourse has already ended because we’ve begun with our mind already made up.
Our genetics define us, but so do our character traits, our choices, our experiences, and our beliefs.
The words inscribed above the temple at Delphi thousands of years ago hold as much wisdom now as they ever did.
The bedrock of our civilization rests upon the shaky sand of self-awareness and is dependent not upon how well we speak, but upon how well we listen.
Our current social focus on how everyone else needs to change will be our unraveling.
We have too many people demanding respect and not enough people earning it.
We have too many people holding grudges and not enough people holding themselves accountable.
We have too many people clamoring for justice and too few extending mercy.
We have too many who preach faith and love but practice fear and hate.
When you vote this year, and please DO vote, remember the words of an Englishman, Sydney Smith, spoken over 200 years ago:
“It is, then, a matter of sovereign necessity, before we decide on great, and momentous questions, which affect our own happiness, and the peace of the world, to make a wise, and virtuous pause, and review, with an honest severity, those peculiarities of disposition, situation, and education, which may communicate an unfair bias to the mind, and induce us to decide, not as the truth of things is, but as we are ourselves.”
How you vote is who you are.
Know Thyself, and choose well.