I know what many of you are saying. “We just finished elections! What are you doing? No one is thinking about voting and elections and whatnot.” Wrong. The people in politics think about elections all the time, for one thing. They schedule fundraisers for the day after Election Day – that’s not an exaggeration. And our Election Cycle is like a black hole that sucks all things into its orbit. It consumes all things. It makes itself the center of all things. In other words, it’s not healthy. I hope that’s something that most people can see and agree on regardless of their ideology and political leanings. Can we all agree on that? Because if that should be the start. But typically it’s not. It’s a side bar. It’s an afterthought.
Typically political conversations start with ideological points and arguments – the worst possible starting point. These are the points that people are most separated by. These are the points that people dig in their heels on. These are the points that people make their stand on. And they go from there.
Do you see the problem with our political conversations. They start from a point of separation with a feeble and ultimately failing attempt at any point of unity or commonality. Any movement in the direction of one’s opponent is seen as a victory, yet it is still a separation because there are sides that see each other as opponents with varying levels of trust and separation. There will always be a gap between them, a difference. They will never start from a point of agreement.
When you start from a point of agreement, the conversation is different. It just is different. You don’t have opponents when you start from a point of agreement. You don’t have a gap or separation either. It doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory though. It doesn’t mean that everything is great either. This is life we are talking about and life is messy. It’s complex.
There is a huge difference when you start from a point of agreement rather than a point of separation.
So what’s this got to do with a voter guide? Everything. Let this concept be your guide in the next election. Doesn’t matter what election, or what office we are talking about. Doesn’t matter who’s running for office, or whether there is an R, a D, or some other letter after their name (representing whatever political party they represent). Here’s the questions for the voter guide – is this candidate seeking a point of agreement in the community or a point of separation? Are they going to work to empower people or divide people? Are they seeking the best out of people or not? Let that be your guide in your voting.
Issues will change. Politicians will come and go. Always look to the bigger picture and the longer term – they have a bigger impact.