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Election Anxiety?

Are you having some anxiety about the upcoming elections?

There is a massive nation wide power struggle happening. It’s been happening to an increasing degree over the last several decades. The two-party system leaves us competing for control over the rules that govern our morality. Do our morals dictate that we serve ourselves or do they dictate that we serve others? Is there a middle ground in which our morals meet to serve everyone?

For this election, it doesn’t matter. For now, both sides of the aisle feel like they must have control in order to ensure their point of view is enacted. The anxiety is about feeling powerless to change it and feeling like the other side will dictate our lives. Neither side can convince the other of its perspective. We are caught in an unmovable binary of opposites. This is because our political system is designed for this competitive us or them lens through which we view policy making.

For this election, the thing we can do to be as powerful as possible is vote. The next most powerful thing that we can do is run for office. After that, the next thing we can do is begin to change the system that no longer serves the majority of people. How do we do that? We look back at how we got here. Political campaigns are won on 30 second sound bites with little to no real debate on the issues. That means that problem solving doesn't happen. Problems get bigger and worse over time because compromise is no longer possible across the political binary chasm. Where the actual voting body is capable of agreeing on far more inclusive positions, the polarized party system no longer reflects that agreement. This leaves us stuck in a pendulum swing between the two ideologies, which is very limiting and serves only to increase fear because there is no escaping it.

So what do we do? The best first step in addressing anxiety is to take action. When you vote, you empower yourself to become part of a collective, and that collective has the power to make change. Know that when you vote, you are not alone and your vote matters. And then you can take the next big step of running for office. Between those two actions, you can become involved in civic affairs in your community. The point is that taking an action empowers yourself to become a part of a solution.

To start a discussion on how to open up to greater options for solutions, here is one idea. First, get the money out of our political system. People in political service can’t get much done because they have to spend most of their time raising money for the next campaign. Hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted on 30 second sound bites that tell us nothing about the issues for which we are voting. Eliminate campaigning. Instead, require each candidate (no party affiliations) to write out their platform and post it to a public site online. Hold town halls and debates on C-span, publicly funded and recorded for on-demand viewing, so that all people can access each candidate's position. People without internet access can access through the library system. Then eliminate the electoral college vote. All candidates are subject to the popular vote.

This is one idea. If we get together to discuss it, I’m sure that we can find other ideas to change our system, but change it must. Continuing as is, may cause an implosion, possibly into a civil war. For right now, this week, exercise your authority the best way you can and vote.

This is a time when we need to discuss breakthrough ideas.

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