First, anger in response to other people’s political choices can get fiery. I let this anger take the proverbial driver’s seat, often, in my own discernment as a voter.
Example of what prompted rage recently in context of the Alabama election:
I did not, and can’t stand even how close this whole election between Moore and Jones was. This red-rage anger toward other voters who still ended up casting votes for Roy Moore is where hopes for my own thought process as a voter get stuck in a judgmental, unproductive, near sanctimonious whirlwind.
Next, all that angriness is a huge spiritual drain!
So how can the anger be put to better direction and use when exercising my capacity as a voter?
Because spiritually and intellectually there has to be a better way to utilize this angry emotion — as less of an impediment to clear thinking, and more of an ignition for it.
This leads to a self-reflecting rabbit hole and overall curiosity for how we humans vote for the political parties and candidates that we do.
Online resources continue to stimulate reflection, in particular:
- voter psychology regarding taller candidates, or those with deeper voices;
- a checklist for assessing political candidates on (and beyond) current issues i.e. leadership experience, linguistic expression, and emotional appeal; plus
- impact of tradition on voter choices.
A wealth of data and insight exist at the tip of any online search or political science library (“duh” as my husband would say). What keeps dominating thought in light of the Moore vs Jones hurricane-of-an-election is the realization my decision-making process as a voter — lacks process altogether. I suspect this is a core reason why my emotional drive supplants most attempts toward consistent, logical reflection.
Also the inner ‘voter story’ I kept telling myself is: There’s a correct and incorrect choice to make at every election.
I must be on the correct side, my inner almost nagging voter voice keeps saying. -Got to be on the correct moral stance especially with every vote. How is that even possible to ascertain? What’s the barometer for just moral discernment no matter what one’s political affiliation?
Back to Alabama voters who voted for Moore:
I am not convinced that all those Alabama voters who rooted for Roy Moore believe it is morally acceptable for men to exploit underage girls sexually (many credible accusations toward Moore have been made on that front as noted above). I don’t buy that said conservative voters would be that morally corrosive or morally faint.
And after dissecting the pensive mess in Alabama’s special election, I could not get beyond the blatant moral failing of Moore. In light of his uniquely abhorrent & demeaning track record of decisions, that is reason enough to reject him as a candidate. But as a decision making process, and analytical resource for assessing political platforms overall, my moral judging is not a very thorough barometer to evaluate future candidates. I want more depth from my discernment, and conscious consistency in what I evaluate.
So why would any such voter offer their support to such a candidate (Moore) with such a track record?
A working theory: a self-coaching process for political choices (I crave this!)
It’s really tough to analyze one’s voting decisions with objective mental distance.
In numerous known or less conscious ways, it is hard for all voting humans to marry objective analysis with our respective emotional fire.
I believe this is a coaching issue and opportunity for us.
In sports coaching as example:
A coach exists to study and observe a team’s decisions. The coach works with some kind of checklist or litmus test or paradigm of expertise to size-up the effectiveness of each play sequence. Gauging the effectiveness of each play is not left up to the judgement of the players themselves.
Another example in the context of a speaker coach:
Say a speaker retains a storytelling or presentation coach to prepare for a big keynote. In this dynamic, the speaker becomes the would-be athlete and the coach assumes position of the core observer of the speaker’s would-be plays, using again a checklist or litmus test method to assess their selected content, delivery, expression of presence etc.
This coaching dynamic creates useful distance between the athletes’s emotional passion for the playing field and objective assessment of their decisions in the field.
Could a coaching-type mechanism (like a non-human coach) be created for ascertaining respective political candidates or platforms?
It has become clear how much I crave a voting template!
Not necessarily a perfect one or all inclusive one. But a voter coaching template consistently shifts attention on emotional flames, and instead allocates focus on core concerns.
Primary goals for this coaching template would be to:
- Cultivate personal clarity & consciousness for voting decisions – consistently – and beyond emotional intensity that I might assign to a political contest;
- Embody the intent to transform social justice for my fellow citizens, even if it involves harsh criticism of my hoped-for candidate or party.
These two factors make it clear that being a one-issue voter (which I have been on occasion) is not going to achieve above, at least for myself.
Ok …where to start in shaping a core template of questions to move through weighty anger, and toward more objectivity and well-rounded aims for justice?
Here’s a start:
- MORAL PATTERNS — What commentary or reports exist which speak to a candidate’s moral treatment of women, men, children, and social diversity overall? Are these commentaries credible and ample (vs rumor-based or infrequently published)?
- SOCIAL JUSTICE vs HARM — Does this published material point toward habitual harm or habitual justice toward certain groups morally and within humane hierarchy of need?
- BALANCED SCRUTINY (or lack thereof) — Despite any emotional disappointment or shock brewing in your inner voter, does your discovered research include moral evaluation of all candidates and parties in the given election?
- OPPOSITION — What are (3) accomplishments in candidates which you consider the ‘opposing candidate(s)’ that could point toward social benefit of marginalized people?