Seven Questions to Ask Before Voting


Some questions to ask ourselves before voting:


How will my vote affect the story and direction of our country?

Is this candidate I’m voting for going to help defuse our current racial tensions?

Is this candidate going to hold themselves accountable as an example?

Is this candidate capable of proper foreign policy as well as bridging the divisions between American individuals?

Is this candidate a step forward in the tapestry of progress and history?

Is this candidate the kind of person who can address grief, loss, and prayers with sincerity and movement?

Who are we more or less comfortable with in directing our social and cultural narrative?

J.S.


Photo by Saint Julian, CC BY-ND 2.0

Who I’m Voting For.


I was asked about my politics. About who I’m voting for.

I don’t know who I’m voting for, but I know who I’m hoping for.

I’m hoping for a candidate who won’t use easy buzzwords and one-liners to pander to a party, who calls out who we should be, and calls us to who we could be.

I’m hoping for a candidate who actually cares, from-the-pit-of-their-stomach until their voice shakes, for black lives and cops’ lives, for teachers’ lives and adopted lives, for lives outside the four lines of a party line; for the least of these, for the working class and freshmen class and aristocrats, for shamed and blamed victims in universities; for the mentally ill, the fatherless, the lone veteran, and refugees; for majorities and minorities, those in Wall Street and on the streets, for those in need and those who lead, for the Constitution and spiritual liberties: not to accuse one to lift up the other, but to raise up without dichotomies, without looking for exceptions and squeezing into our isolated categories.

I’m hoping for a candidate who doesn’t crudely appeal to the entitled or the corporations, who doesn’t ride on young votes or legacy votes or angry votes or religious votes, who doesn’t tickle the little racist in all of us, who can pull together a unified diversity and a diversified unity, without demonizing or cartoon-villainizing a caricature of the “other side,” who reaches across the divide but without compromise.

I’m hoping for a candidate who listens more than talks, who hands the microphone across the stand, who questions more than lectures, who doesn’t condescend but descends where I am.

I’m hoping for a candidate who isn’t poaching for my vote by the end results of a focus group, who might disagree with me but still tells me the total truth.

I’m hoping for a candidate who won’t play zero sum, who won’t falsely promise a full pocket by reaching into my other one.

What I’m hoping for is impossible and illogical, and I remain cynical. I might as well be talking about Jesus, and look what they did to him: his cross became his pedestal.

I’m probably asking for too much — but maybe we haven’t been asking for enough: because enough would be someone who had the guts to say, “It’s not them or you, it’s them with us.”

Because who I’m voting for won’t matter

unless we figure out what matters.

I got a hope bigger than politics and polls,

and that’s the hope that we know there’s better and more.

Call me an idealist, or naive, or romantic, or say I’m avoiding the question: but if we can’t relinquish our verbal weapons, we’ll have nothing left past the aftermath of an election.

And really, all these changes that I want to see,

it doesn’t start with a vote, but a wild hope in we.

These changes, really,

they have to start with me.

All this starts

with you and me.

J.S.

The Forced Falsed Dichotomy of For and Against: How a Binary System Fails to Resolve Our Deepest Issues

When you’re asked these three questions, you’re instantly running into a bitter bloody crossfire.
Are you for or against gay marriage?
Are you pro-life or pro-choice?
Are you a Democrat or Republican?

But I want to counter-ask:
Why do we only have to think within these two opposing grids? Who made up the rules of this conflict? What if there was a different way to do this than the paradigms we have blindly bought into?

What our world does is what it has always done: takes a human issue, forces two sides against each other, comes up with all kinds of pseudo-articulate arguments, and ratchets up the volume.

Is this really the only dang way to communicate?

For many of us, this is all we ever know. The incessant angry yelling ignores the people trapped inside these debates, and we are brainwashed into excluding the “other” based on our own limited understanding of reality.

Real-live multi-layered human beings get lost in the urge to push ideologies — and I keep wondering if there’s a better way to navigate our disagreements.

Our current public discourse always looks barbaric and overly simplistic: because winning your idea at the White House cannot legislate someone’s soul. That’s state-sponsored tyranny.

Even if your side wins, what then? How do we reconcile with the “other”? What do you really win?

How do we offer something more than “Stop it” ..? How do we get off the anti-ground of what we’re against and move towards what we’re for?

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