Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that we are at the end of the presidential election season here in the United States (and if you are lucky enough not to live in the US and not know anything about it, you can be thankful for that – but I promise that this post is still applicable to you). People are obviously fearful and quite worried about the outcome of this election. I get it. We have two candidates that, if I do say so myself, pretty much suck. Neither is good. I’ve heard all of the arguments why I MUST vote for one or the other. Apparently, I have to choose the lesser of two evils – although everyone seems to have a different opinion on who that person really is (and, by the way, I truly HATE that statement, as though people would vote for someone who they believe to be truly evil).
I think that people are missing the big picture here. First, these two candidates are reflections of society right now (which, I admit, is kind of scary). They are a symptom. As a society, it seems to me that we aren’t exactly doing our best these days. We have abdicated our duties to our fellow man to others – to our “leaders”. No wonder we’re in this mess.
Before I get too far, I want to be clear that I’m not saying that there is no place for government. However, government doesn’t fix most of our problems. We do. The fact that government exists doesn’t mean that we should shy away from our own responsibilities. And we do have responsibilities – not just to ourselves, to our families or to our close friends. We have responsibilities to each and every person we come into contact with – and to perfect strangers. To treat one another with kindness, care and respect. To help people (including strangers) when help is needed. To be compassionate. The way I see it, we must start caring about and DOING for others – not expecting others (including the government) to do it for us.
I truly don’t understand why we put so much faith in our political leaders. We seem to think they are the end-all, be-all of our lives and existence. Somehow, our lives will be forever changed (for better or worse) because of who our Senator is, who is in the White House, etc. News flash: no one can solve your individual problems better than you. Also, please remember that our elected officials are human beings – they are no more special or important than we are. They have flaws. So why put so much faith in them?
Our elected officials don’t really have the power we attribute to them – especially if we choose to hold them accountable. Their power is based on what we allow them to have – by not holding them accountable we are giving them power they shouldn’t have in the first place. They work for us you know.
So how do we solve our problems? I would suggest that the first step is to raise our own personal standards – the standards within which we live our lives. Raising your personal standards obviously includes demanding to be treated well by others. But I think many of us already do that (and if you don’t, you really should – because you are worth it). What I’m really talking about is living your life in accordance with those standards.
Remember how I mentioned that our candidates are a reflection of our society and who we are right now? There’s good news there too. It means that we can change things – and that means you too, dear reader. If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, you know that I believe strongly that there is a ripple effect in what we do and how we treat others.
I see a lot of people claiming to have high standards that aren’t really living by them – and it pains me to see this. If you are making excuses for the serious flaws your candidate of choice has and the choices that they have made that are clearly wrong because they are on “your side” of the political aisle, you are living by some pretty low standards. Please stop making excuses for them just because they have a “D” or an “R” next to their name. I hear these “excuses” all the time. Don’t people get that they are justifying bad behavior (and this is happening on both sides of the aisle)? Behavior that I’m betting you would absolutely not put up with in your personal life. So why accept it in your leaders?
Isn’t it time we hold these people accountable? I’m not saying that you can’t (or shouldn’t) vote for one candidate over the other (after all, there are only two realistic choices who can win, and some people feel that it is better to vote for one than none at all – and I understand that argument). But it does mean that you get honest with who they really are and how you want to hold them accountable going forward. Stop making excuses and justifying their bad behavior. You are compromising your own personal standards when you do that.
If we start holding ourselves to higher standards, it means that we will live by them. We will hold our leaders accountable – we will stop making excuses for them and justifying bad behavior. If enough of us do that, our leaders will start looking more like us.
Ultimately, we are in this together. How about we actually start acting like it? This is not something we should merely talk about and expect others to do for us. Take action – do something. You can start pretty simply. Give time and money to a great cause (especially time). Even a small amount helps. Put your energy towards loving one another. It will change your thinking about others to get out there and be with your fellow man – people who aren’t like you at all. People who are just as human as you are. We can start the ripple effect – one that can spread and be contagious. It takes only a few to get such a movement started. I’m in. Are you?
Until next time…