Monday, November 3, 2014

Random thoughts on voting, public office and respect

Respect is color blind. Respect cares not about money. Respect rejects the notion of power. Respect is at finish line in the race for equality.

Bryan M. Howell, 2014

On the eve of the November 4, 2014 election, I am reminded of several posts I have made during the last four years of my own personal journey to discover myself. I am not an ageist. I really try to avoid overgeneralizations. It’s time to remind myself of one of the important things in life. Respect.

At the end of the day, I am embarrassed of blind hatred, stereotyping and the newest tumor on society … entitlement. Here’s a list I’d like to put out there for folks to see my angle on voting and the importance of honest public officials.

For Voters:

  • Don’t blindly vote down the list. The truth is this: If you do not take the time to educate yourself and truly consider the angles that a candidate introduces … you are sort of wasting your time. That vote is for YOUR opinion and it deserves you understanding what those choices on that ballot mean.
  • Don’t vote straight party. On a rare occasion, there is a better alternative. Some candidates do a good job of staying out of party politics. Pay attention to those folks. They are the game changers.
  • Don’t vote because of what your daddy voted. If you are truly an “individual” voting the way someone else voted is contradictory.
  • Don’t take a selfie in the booth. It’s stupid and could be a felony.
  • It’s not too late. Even tonight. Go out and learn about the people on the ballot. The “Google Machine” holds the key to many political mysteries … but remember, not everything on the ‘Interwebs’ is true.

For Politicians:

  • Do the job because you WANT TO HELP PEOPLE.
  • Don’t vote in absurd pay raises for your office and then go vote against pay raises for others.
  • In fact, do your best not to contradict yourself.
  • Speaking of self … please be yourself at all times.
  • Respect the opponents, the office and the duty of public service. Run a better campaign. Your voting public is tired of your poorly edited half-truth smear campaign. Be the bigger candidate.
  • Respect the people you pledged to serve. If you wouldn’t say it to the preacher or sweet older lady down the street, then you ought not to say it anywhere – because it will end up on the web somewhere.
  • Don’t use any elected office (or person) merely as a stepping stone. Get in and get your hands dirty doing that job before moving up the chain.

I started with my quote for a reason. I’m no genius, but unless we make our way back to a more respectful world … the ship will sink. With the power of information, the ship will sink more readily when respect is absent.

And to clarify, I do not mean this “fake” respect that we see all over the media nowadays. I mean genuine respect. When you put aside your preconceived notions and truly get as objective as possible it is a bit easier to see other’s point of view … or at least where their point of view originates. If you begin respecting others it will surprise you how much more readily understanding is reached.

Respect is a song by Aretha and it sure is catchy. She captured a wonderful concept. Now, think about respect beyond her lyrics and see where the road leads.