November 5, 2018 Blog No Comments

The time is here, it’s happening now – it is the best way to express yourself and we are fortunate to have this liberty. It’s time to get out of your malaise. It’s time to step out from behind the curtain. It’s time to take a stand because you will make a difference. IT’S TIME TO VOTE!

Are you like me, anxious about the midterm elections? The future and integrity of our democracy is at stake. We have many choices to consider.  Are we going to move forward or continue to undo decades of progress with fear and hatred? Are we going to allow the erosion of our civil liberties to go unchallenged, accept big money interest groups’ domination of the political process defying common sense, stand idly by while bully politics distort and bury truth with lies, or are you going to step up and express yourself?

I have been a regular voter, way above average, I learned from information sent to me, but I would hardly call myself a political activist. I realized that my anger, anxiety and distress over our current political landscape meant I could no longer watch; I had to do something.  I’ve expressed myself – signs in my yard, hosting and attending fund raisers, posting information, canvassing. It’s a small amount of effort given the high stakes.

The ultimate forum to express yourself happens Tuesday November 6th. PLEASE VOTE. It may seem incongruous to my role as a personal and social change agent to make this pitch, but I realized that it’s actually the most powerful and important form of self-actualization we have. Take an interest in your relationship to the world around you and take a stand. What you think matters – don’t be asleep at the wheel.

Here are things you need to consider so your expression has meaning:

CONSIDER THE ISSUES AT STAKE

There are many reasons this election is important. What’s the focus of your concern? Get to know your candidates and their platforms so you’re informed.  Changes in the makeup of the House and Senate will change the balance of power in Congress. State leadership positions will affect legislation and the political process. Local races are equally important to our quality of life.

Consider the following array of national issues at stake: Congress will be considering legislation to address and potentially radically change things.

  • Affordable Care Act will be changed for the better or coverage will be reduced, preexisting conditions blocked, with substance and mental health issues not substantially covered.
  • Environmental impact legislation will improve or continue to be rolled back at alarming rates, creating greater risks for increased climate change, diminishing our role as a world leader.
  • Gun control legislation to reduce violence and promote research will either stall as it has for decades or, with new bipartisan support, effect meaningful change.
  • Immigration policies are being used as the political whip to create fear, jeopardizing people’s civil liberties, threatening changes to the constitution, creating more divisiveness. Who has the ability to lead us through these contentious conflicts?
  • Foreign policy stances influence our economy and the balance of power on the world stage. Everything in this area is in flux. Pay attention, whose interests are being represented by candidates?
  • Hundreds of open state and national judgeships need to be filled with Senate approval. With lifetime appointments, these positions will affect several generations of decisions. We need balanced leaders in the Senate.

Get to know your candidates and their stance on these issues.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS – DON’T FALL FOR LIES

The political advertising is alarming, mean-spirited, divisive and designed to portray the opponent as a threat to everything you hold dear, while they are a savior. Don’t trust ads that speak in black and white terms, using high drama, distorted data and colors and tones that paint an opponent as a devil. If it seems like disinformation or a lie, it likely is. Get the facts.

Most of all, trust your instincts. If information is presented to create fear and distrust, it’s a ploy playing to your most basic instincts. Those tactics make me not trust a candidate. Pay attention to the candidates who play it straight and honest, appealing to your higher sense of what’s right.

If information seems extreme, it probably is – pay attention to a balanced message you can trust

LOOK AT YOUR LOCAL BALLOT AHEAD OF TIME

There are a number of political positions open that you’re likely unaware of. There is a confusing legislative change to consider, Marcie’s Law, which sounds like a good thing but can actually be problematic (vote no).  Get the background information, so you aren’t randomly making selections.

Here’s a site where you can enter your address and retrieve a sample ballot. https://ballotpedia.org . Once you have the names of candidates in front of you, start searching for more information. The more informed you are, the more you are exercising your full right of expression by voting.

Be informed, know the open positions and who you are voting for.

MAKE A DECISION AND PLAN TO VOTE

From canvassing, I learned a commitment to vote starts with a decision followed by a plan. First, do you know where your poll is? If not go to this link: https://www.rockthevote.org.

The most effective canvassing questions is – Can I count on your vote on November 6th?  So, I’m asking, can I count on you to vote on Tuesday? What time will you go – morning, afternoon or evening? Think about when voter turnout will be heavy and plan accordingly. Do you need a ride? Call your party headquarters if you do; they will be happy to help.

What about weather? If it’s stormy will that keep you away? Make a bad weather contingency plan. Don’t let anything get in your way of making your opinion known.

Your input into the political process is important. Make plans to vote on Nov. 6th.

The realization came to me that the right to vote is the ultimate way to express yourself.  There are few things more affirming than making your voice and opinion heard. Your consideration of the issues helps you be prepared and ready to take a stand.  Pay attention to the tone and content of candidates advertising and trust your instincts. If it creates fear and doubt – you’re likely being manipulated. Look at your local ballot ahead of time, there are surprise names and issues that deserve your attention. And finally, make the commitment to vote and plan ahead. Your vote is precious– you will make a difference!

Are you excited to exercise this freedom of expression? Or has life’s current carried you along without being fully aware or able to express your opinions and needs? If you’d like to strengthen your ability to know your mind and have clear expression, my Transformational Life Coaching and Counseling can help. See my website www.spectrumtransformation.com for more information and use my free consultation tab to reach me. I’d love to hear from you!

Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com