Saturday, October 29, 2016

Voting in the 2016 US Election

You are responsible for your personal vote.

Quit following the polls and focusing on the game theory behind voting. Don't get caught up in the hype. Vote for someone you believe in.

It was surreal to be in Europe when the Brexit vote happened and thousands of Brits were surprised that when they voted to leave, it actually happened. They thought they were just "protesting" with their vote. But the next morning, it turns out that their vote mattered. There was some regret that people didn't vote the way they actually felt, but voted because they were caught up in the hype of protesting other people being involved in their internal politics. It was a reasonable argument to reclaim control of Britain, but people then realized they actually felt like staying as part of the greater European Union community.

Don't vote against someone. Vote for someone. Vote for someone you believe in.

The larger tides of voting will sweep over the nation on November 8th. However, your individual vote still matters. It matters personally. It matters as part of who you are. It matters as it becomes part of a growing movement to fix what is actually wrong with the political parties in the United States. The United States if filled with division. But politics and issues are more complex than picking one side or the other. If you are someone who votes on a single issue, whether it be gun control, abortion choice, hair style of candidates... I challenge you to think more deeply about how other issues affect all of us globally. Think about how the issues interact with each other.

It's not just about the president.

One person, even though that person is the leader of the United States, still has limited power. Where does change actually happen? It's at the local level. At the local level, things are more simple. You can select an issue or two, talk with your local leaders, and make change happen. As real change occurs, it spreads and helps the wider community to thrive.

Get involved in your local politics.

It could be something that directly affects you and your children, such as School Board. It could be something that affects your region, such as electing Congresspeople who want to help your local industries grow and create jobs. But in each of these cases, you can be an effective advocate for change. Who knows, maybe you will get involved directly and run for a local office.

Make a difference in your local leadership and in your Congressional leadership. When it comes down to it, the president and Congress work together and against each other to appoint and confirm Supreme Court justices, make national policies, and shape the national values. Look up who is running for other offices and don't just get caught up in the crazy presidential election. Vote for people who will make your voice heard in Congress. The checks and balances were created for a reason. Participate in shaping how the branches of government will interact.

Go Vote

Sometimes I reflect on what I learned when I was getting my degree in Political Science, that the "passions of the masses" were not to be trusted. Jefferson said, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." And that Hamilton said, The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right." Despite the initial debates and concerns of the founding fathers, we are in a situation where we all get to vote.

Ignore the passions of the masses and vote with personal responsibility.

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