Casting a conscious, thoughtful vote
November 15, 2012
This is a nonpartisan appeal to consider some deeper level thinking before you cast your ballot. We, the people, are affected by our government's decisions.
When we select our representatives we need to take time, step back, and make sure we are making our decision based on knowledge we have collected over time "no matter the sources" and not just parroting other's opinions. Of course we find ourselves drifting towards information and punditry that aligns with our personal bias.
Bias can be beautiful. It is one of the by-products of being informed. But having a bias or making decision based on limited top-level thinking is no way to make an important decision of any kind.
Take "we need someone who can run this country like a business."
Every single person needs to be taken into regard
— not just the 1 percent or the 47 percent or the 99 percent.
A strong, successful track record as businessperson indicates some impressive skills, ones that would help any candidate's governmental tool set.
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But governing "on any level" goes far beyond business skills. Using the office of the president as an example, let's look at where the limited education garnered from simply running a business falls short.
When we were attacked on 9/11 a scenario unfolded that no CEO could imagine dealing with. Like the response or not, decisions outside the realm of any job in the world "except one" needed to be made. Katrina, Sandy, earthquakes and tornadoes — all of these require leadership and decision-making prowess that cannot be provided by CEO-style governance.
In a business a CEO is working exclusively with players on his team, ones he selected and ones he can fire. Governance requires compromise and collaboration with decision-makers holding vastly opposing viewpoints and goals, ones hired not by the CEO-in-chief, but by the people.
And no CEO ever had to sign letters — auto-pen or not — to the parents of soldiers who died defending our country. And ultimately it comes down to the people. We the people. The president needs to take the entire population into account. Every action and each decision will have a ripple — if not a tsunami — that affects each individual in the United States. Every single person needs to be taken into regard — not just the 1 percent or the 47 percent or the 99 percent.
A CEO is responsible to generating profits for his shareholders. The president is responsible for creating a "More Perfect Union," the collective whole of all Americans. There is a unique mix of compassion, ruthlessness, collaborative skills, coercion, long-range judgment, short-term decision-making, fiscal responsibility and intelligent deficit spending that our president needs to balance. All at the same time. It is a responsibility spanning far more than the job description. It is a responsibility that requires layers of wisdom that go far beyond "running a business."
So when you vote, take the time to enter the next level of thought. If you like what he has to say, think about what he actually has said and why you actually like it. If you share the same values, take a quick check to see if those particular values are what you want the person leading the country to exhibit and to see if they really share them with you.
You will probably re-affirm what you believed, but in so doing you will be casting a conscious, thoughtful vote.
Michael Mooers lives in Nevada City.