We are coming down to it now and as I told someone this past week, it is all like a rerun to me. When it gets right down to it, I see little that differs from any other quest for the most powerful office in the land. Here is a repost from 2004, I have seen nothing to convince me that it is any different in 2016.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6-8
If you’ve read The Three Meter Zone, you recognize the quoted passage from the Old Testament book of Micah. I started the book with that quote because it captures for me what true leadership is better than does anything else I’ve written or read.
Last week, I spewed some (which is how one of my favorite critics describes it). I was on over load to the point of a near head explosion trying to figure out why so many people do not meet their responsibility to vote. What is more befuddling are those who don’t vote, but constantly complain about the government. In order to get my point across I reverted to Drill Sergeant candor, which sometimes works. One of my readers responded with this:
“I am … one of those apathetic non-voters you write about. …
No, I have never voted for a single political figure in my lifetime, and until some creditability with the process comes to fruition, I doubt I ever will. Let me ask you this, After months of slinging mud and slandering one another do you really feel that there is much of a choice in the selection arena? What is promised and what becomes reality contrast sharply. Additionally, I am not confident that the process is in fact the voice of the people.”
I replied that I felt there was always a “best” choice and that we had an obligation to study the contenders and vote for the one we think is best to run our country. The alternative I said was to turn the country over to the nuts to run – and I feared we were getting closer to that.
The reader provided me with the likely reasons why many are apathetic toward voting. Take time to analyze his statement.
First is the disconnect.
“…do you really feel that there is much of a choice in the selection arena…”
This potential voter doesn’t see a candidate that he feels represents him or the millions of Americans like him. The simple fact is that they are not us and probably through life experience have little in common with most of us. When we make the comparison between the candidates and ourselves, we have to look beyond material things like wealth. I say that, because I don’t think there are any billionaires reading my columns. I doubt that many of you live in mansions and I expect Yale and Harvard degrees are a rarity among you. In that regard, they are not representative of most Americans. Does that mean neither of them is worth our vote? Does it mean that one of them does not represent for us more closely what we value than does the other? I believe an assessment of self to determine what you truly value is the first step. The second step is to assess the candidates against those values. You cannot assess them by watching campaign ads. You must actually get to know something about the men. There is much information about them, just look it up. You’re not going to get a perfect fit, but I’m betting that one is closer to who you are than is the other.
“I am not confident that the process is in fact the voice of the people.”
From my study of the voting statistics, I’m afraid I have to agree with this and here’s why. In most general election years 50 percent or less of the voting age population actually voted. Review the statistics. Most Presidents are elected with somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 percent of the cast votes. Therefore, if you have 50 percent of 50 percent it means that only 25 percent of the voting age population selected the leader of our country. What we have is the voice of one fourth of the people. With the amount of complaining that I hear about our country, the one fourth that selected our leaders must not be the one fourth most of us agree with. We can’t correct that unless we vote.
“What is promised and what becomes reality contrast sharply.”
The biggest mistake to make is voting for a candidate based on words that come from his mouth (or his surrogates) during a political campaign. Review the candidate’s history. Past actions (whether past or near present) are a better indicator of what he’ll deliver than is his commercials. Evaluate the candidates and select the one that most represents to you the character and values of a leader that you’d want to follow.
I assess leaders (and Presidential candidates) using do justly, love mercy and walk humbly.
Do justly – means to act or conform to what is morally upright or good. This is not a complicated assessment. Does the candidate’s values expressed through words and deeds meet the criteria? This of course filters through your concept of what is morally upright or good. Does the candidate’s actions (not promises) represent just acts as they’re defined? Do the actions represent what is best for most Americans?
Love mercy – means having a disposition to show kindness or compassion. Like you, I’ve been listening to unending political rhetoric for more than one year. One group in particular has been quite shrill and downright disrespectful. Do you know what’s funny here? Not everyone is going to agree about which group it is. That’s fine because it’s the candidate’s response to political attacks that demonstrates if he has the needed disposition or not. Add to that an evaluation of policies. Can you find kindness and compassion in your candidate’s actions versus his promises?
Walk humbly – a person who walks humbly, ranks himself low in a hierarchy and is not too proud or arrogant. Can you relate to the candidate on a personal level? For me, red flags go up when a candidate tells me his purpose is to look out for the “little people.” With such a statement, the candidate places himself above “little people.” One who walks humbly, does not make such distinctions because he knows that in the grand scheme, we are all little people.
Does your candidate do justly, love mercy and walk humbly? For the sake of your country, fulfill your obligation. Register and vote.
© 2004 J. D. Pendry All Rights Reserved