Tag Archives: election

Vote on Behalf of Someone You Want to Protect

October 19, 2020

Culture and Society

The next US presidential election happens in just over two weeks from this posting. It feels like an understatement to say that this is a big deal.

Of course, it is a big deal.

To be clear, I am not a fan of our current president. He is a misogynistic, racist, sexist, and homophobic businessman who only cares about his self-interests. His handling of the Coronavirus pandemic has been full of misleading (and often misguided) information and a complete lack of empathy. Over 200,000 people have now died in the US.

Now that I got that out of the way, it goes without saying that people have a right to choose whomever they want for president. It is actually more important that people vote, regardless of who they vote for. In a democracy in which a majority of the people exercise their power to vote, there is more ownership and interest in the future of the country. This is always a good thing.

With all of this in mind, I wanted to present a simple idea.

Early voting is now in full swing across the country. People can either do so in person at local voting sites or by absentee ballots through the mail. Voting on election day will also be happening on Nov. 3. While it is absolutely important to exercise your right to vote, it is also worthwhile to think about why you are voting.

Personally, it seems easier to make a decision based entirely upon yourself and your own singular needs. For example, you could say . . .

“Sure, I have food on the table and a stable home. I’m not poor and destitute. Let’s keep everything the same and keep the current guy in office.”

This is certainly a perfectly reasonable line of thinking, but what if, for example, you shifted your perspective and thought about your beloved, ailing, and elderly grandmother? What if you considered her needs and situation?

Her affordable healthcare, as she grapples with pre-existing conditions, is supported by Obamacare. How will your vote affect this delicate balance?

Let’s say someone you deeply love and admire in your family is LGBT.

Which candidate is likely to push for a reversal of gay marriage as well as revoke equal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity?

Let’s say your sister suddenly has Coronavirus. Which leader and administration would be more competent in getting sick patients the support that they and their caregivers need?

These can be real-world scenarios that are happening in communities all across the country.

As you make your plans to vote, please think about who your vote will protect beyond just yourself. I would vote differently if the life and livelihood of someone I loved would be destroyed by the outcome of the election. Think about the future of your children, your parents, brothers, sisters, best friends, and your spouse. If the wellbeing of someone I loved was on the line, I would move mountains to make it right.

So, just think about it. Vote on behalf of someone you love and someone you want to protect.

When you do this, you vote with compassion. It becomes an act of love and kindness toward someone you care for. This makes all the difference in the world.


Do Not Get Your News From Social Media

February 9, 2020

Culture and Society

During the last presidential election cycle here in the United States, it has been confirmed by several reputable news sources and government agencies that Russia tampered with our election. I do not know the full extent to which they did this, but one of the more notable ways was through social media.

This sounds like it came out of an espionage novel, but the truth can be as nefarious as fiction. Russian operatives created fake news sites and blasted Facebook and Twitter with stories that were aimed to dis-inform the general public with slightly skewed or blatantly false information. These stories and headlines were often shared and discussed by users of social media, and with enough time and replication, the perspectives of millions of people were influenced.

Now in 2020, we are approaching the apex of another presidential election cycle. If we do not learn from our mistakes of the past, we are woefully doomed to repeat them.

I have taken the following simple steps to avoid reading news on social media (These apply toward whichever poison you prefer be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram).

  • Limit time spent on social media.

    This is the first line of defense if you know in your soul that you cannot live without being on sites like Twitter and Instagram. The less time you spend on these sites, the smaller the likelihood that you will click on the sensational headlines that your friends share. It’s not likely that your friends are vetting the sources of these stories or the websites they came from, however benign your friends may be.

    Avoiding social media as much as possible will significantly minimize the possibility of disinformation spreading to your brain. Try limiting use to a specific time of day for only an hour. Leave your phone somewhere hard to reach. Do whatever it takes. It’s also likely that you’ll find something better to do with your time.

  • Be discerning about what you click and read on social media

    It’s one thing to read and comment on a personal story or anecdote that a friend shares. It is another thing entirely to click on the news links people display. Not only can these websites provide false or misleading information, but they can also have malware that can get into your computer. (Again, this sounds crazy, but the technology exists.) You do not have to click on any news headlines at all, but if you have to, proceed with caution and a questioning disposition.

    I find it much more useful to connect with friends about their lives than to discuss political opinions and news. That is the filter that I use to navigate through my feeds.

  • Use legitimate sources outside of social media to get your news.

    As the previous election demonstrates, the algorithms and technology behind social media cannot be trusted. When I disengage from the addictive cult fashioned by Mark Zuckerburg and other powers that be, I seek out actual news sites for detailed information and varying perspectives. This sounds like more effort, but that’s a small price to pay to avoid the mind control that social media seems to be intent on weaponizing.

Incidentally, here is a list of news sites that I like to frequent. Have a look if you are curious, and to make it more convenient, create a folder on your web browser’s “Favorites” list to house them all for easy access. (If you do not like any of these, proceed with caution and skepticism to find others.)

This year’s presidential election will be fraught with drama and noisy divisiveness. It will be more important than ever to be clearheaded and focused on the platforms of different candidates and how you feel about them.

Stay engaged and informed, and please, do not get your news from social media.