So another election cycle is over. Wait, what? Yeah, the elections were held throughout the nation yesterday, but we didn’t hear a whole lot about them, because we have already focused on 2012. This is probably the 3rd time that I have not voted in an election. Not to say that I am proud to help make up the 18-29 year old age group that consistently doesn’t vote, but there are life issues that do happen that makes voting really tough.
Having a degree in Political Science from the University of Kentucky (Go Cats!), I have always liked government, politics and history. However, I think the more and more I see of politicians (from both sides of the aisle), I wonder what outcomes these elections mean? Depending on the side you talk to, one will say it is an indication that the President is on the right track. To the other, it is not an indication that the President is on the right track, but rather districts and states that have traditionally voted a particular way. Politicizing the votes that they desire is rather funny.
The hardest part about politics is the desire to be seen as authentic, and yet not really being authentic. Another hard part is the desire to hide, cover, or keep out of the public view the simple understanding that mistakes have happened in the past. We all have them right? Somehow politicians and even the voters are fooled every election cycle to believe that being authentic is being squeaky clean; that authenticity is perfection.
The crazy thing about elections as well is the belief that the extremes need motivating. The extremes of both parties are always motivated…they don’t need any more motivation. Elections are about the undecided. And those are few and far between if we are really honest. Even more crazy is the fact that we want to sway people who have no particular stand on issues. The undecideds are the same undecideds year after year. So politicians strategies about what issue is the important issue to sway the undecided.
And yet the issues have less to do about whether an undecided will vote for a particular person or not. Voters look to the individual. Can they trust them? Are they the most authentic? And when they find the person that they believe in, they vote that way.
I am not directly opposed to this type of voting, because you have to feel like you can trust your leader, but trust in a leader generally needs some sort of foundation. Over the last 20 years there has been shift in the foundation. I am not going to argue whether is it good or not, because it just is what it is. There is a shift in GOP voting as well as Democrats. What “is important” has changed in people’s minds.
So another election cycle is down and we are left wondering what changes will take place. We wait wondering, and yet in the past 20 years we recognize the change. Although change has happened because of the leaders we elect, I think there is far greater change that has occurred simply out of circumstance and belief in ideas. Circumstances will always arise; from unseen wars, economic crisis, etc. But the most change comes from ideas. Ideas that spread like fire across the prairie. President Obama’s slogan while running in ’08 was “Change we can believe in”, and yet the people changed it to “Yes we can.” This was not a decision made by politicians, but rather the idea of people who changed what was a simple statement into action.
The point is this: Election cycles are important. It is important who we elect. But don’t forget where real change comes from. Change comes from the ideas and foundations that move people to action. When a politician realizes this, they will be tough to beat because authenticity will flow out of them, and they won’t care about the rhetoric of perfection. They will strive to push their idea(s) out of obligation to help others, out of obligation to bring change, out of obligation to themselves.