Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How About Some Personal "Checks & Balances" When We Vote?

Whatever our political leaning, I think we all need to be concerned about how unrealistic, "me first", "stuck in the now" and narrow-minded so many of us tend to be when it comes to elections.

Fact is, social change, substantive economic progress, foreign policy or anything at all that makes a long-term impact is - by definition - subject to the test of time. Partizan politics, however, has become stuck in the attention span of the average consumer, last month's unemployment numbers, and the frenetic ups and downs of the 24-hour news cycle.

We can't realistically demand long-term solutions of our leaders and then vote them out of office when we don't get what we want a month or two down the road.

America either needs a prescription of Ritalin to help our attention span; or (and I like this) a personal "reality-check fairy" for every consumer, charged with the sole responsibility of sitting on our shoulders at all times, at the ready to slap us on the wrists and say "No! You can't have that!"

We insist on - and are proud of - the checks and balances built into our form of government. The overlapping and interdependent terms and time-lines of legislative, executive and judicial branches are pure genius. Yet too many of us allow our personal political psyche to go off half-cocked at a moment's notice and without any sense of balance whatsoever.

So I recommend a subdivision of our individual electoral consciousness - mine, and yours - that functions in a similar way:
  • A well-honed value system that undergirds everything and that is, essentially, a life-time appointment. I base mine on my ongoing relationship with God and my personal walk with Jesus....
  • An executive decision-oriented process that takes into account shifting political allegiance, priorities that may or may not refocus over extended periods of time, well thought-out arguments and philosophies that can change over the years, changes in life and circumstance that are years in the making, and my willingness to rethink certain assumptions based on experience and growth....
  • A cultured responsiveness to the realities of the world around us. We may have "work-ethic" roots, but those homeless folk aren't on the street because they're lazy; we might embrace Christ's admonition to heal the sick, but should we have to pay for the doctor's inflated malpractice insurance? I may be a fiscal conservative, but I'm certainly not willing to vote for someone determined to dismember important social programs....
I'm talking about a balance of power, a personal political psyche that builds a decision-making process around both the timeless and the timely, an electoral ethic that references the big picture rather than simply what we heard on talk-radio last week.

That's my challenge to you, America. It's also our responsibility....


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