It seems I was ahead of the curve in buying votedifferent.org. A viral video with over 1 million views called 'Vote Different' has hit the net. It has nothing to do with me, or my political bloggings other than being political. It does, however, bring up a something I wanted to blog about when I first bought the domain name. Now seems as good a time as ever. ...
Many people relate to voting for someone, or some thing, by choosing the lesser of 2 or more evils. This relationship to voting is probably one of the many reasons so few people actually vote, it isn't a very powerful place to make a choice from. To add fuel to the fire, most political campaigns include advertisements that just talk about the negatives, or perceived negatives, of their opponents.
More often it is even perceived negatives. With the right music, somewhat artsy video work and of course not giving your opponent a chance to rebut the claim almost anything can sound like a negative.
It isn't the fault of the campaigners though. They are only doing what works. But why does it work? It works because, as humans, we like stuff to be easy. In order to make politics easy we usually make decisions early on and don't change our minds. In order to make things easy we don't look at political ads ( both positive and negative ) and ask questions. Who paid for this ad? How credible are they? Are the statements in the advertisement true? If so, is it really as bad or good as they make it seem? Does it go along with my personal beliefs? Does it affect my personal beliefs? Have I been wrong all along? Quite simply, in order to make things easy we remain unconscious to just about everything in our lives. A famous female astronomer, Maria Mitchell, said "Question everything." While she was talking about science, it applies everywhere.
Obviously, questioning everything can get overwhelming. That's why we don't. It would benefit us to consciously choose what to be conscious of. Choose things that affect your life, and thus the lives of people around you. Politics affect us all. Politics in other countries our lives in ours.
Instead of choosing the lesser of two evils, we could relate to voting as choosing the best option on a ballot. It's a positive, and requires us to look at who would be the best as apposed to who wouldn't be the worst. Not quite a double negative because it still isn't positive. From my last experience voting, I found that looking for the best candidates in every case and then selecting them at the ballot box was very empowering. I felt like I made a difference. Especially when I see some of them are in office now.
So go ahead, watch these political ads. Ask questions of yourself and of people around you. By being in a true conversation, which requires listening as well as talking, about the things that affect our lives, we can make a positive difference in our lives. Some things we never thought beneficial can benefit us. Things we never thought possible can occur. Whatever you do just pay attention.