Voting with your brain, not your habits

The United Kingdom has just gone through an election, with the conservative government returned to office.

Whatever you might think of that, one thing was clear – a lot of people voted from habit, and even more people didn’t vote at all.

vote

I don’t think much of most politicians, to be honest. I think the profession tends to attract people who are self-serving, and the whole process is exhausting to watch and see. It’s been a long while since I wasn’t disillusioned with a politician. And the lies they tell are scandalous – I’d send my child to the naughty corner in a split second for behaving that way!

But seriously, I think it is our democratic responsibility to vote, and vote as wisely as we can, according to our own sense of right and wrong, whatever that may be. I’m not about to tell anyone how to vote, but I do think we should. Otherwise we deserve the worst our countries have to offer us, not the best.

So…what do you believe?

Take the political compass test to find out.

When you’re done, you can check out recent elections in your locality by clicking links in the side bar. For instance, candidates in the US Presidential election are listed here, and the UK Parties 2015 General Election are listed here.

Learning about what is important to you, and how you fit into the political landscape can help determine the right party for you. It may also trigger you to reconsider past voting habits. It did for me.

Who to vote for among thieves? Whoever you vote for, you get a %^&%*% politician!

All we can do is vote for the best – or the least bad – in the options we are given, sending a strong message about what we think is important.

Issues you might want to consider include:

  • Wealth. What background do the candidates come from? Will they support local jobs, or are they more interested in making trade deals that benefit the outrageously wealthy few?
  • Health. Does your candidate support health care for the least and poorest of your countrypeople, as well as the wealthiest? Are they working to make health care affordable and accessible? Do they believe in complete personal bodily autonomy i.e. does the government get to make decisions about your body, or do you? Which do you believe?
  • The elderly. What plans does your candidate have for looking after the elderly in your community? How will this affect you or your loved ones?
  • “Train wreck” scenario. How do your candidate’s policies care for the homeless and jobless in your community? If the worst case scenario happened to you and your family (you lost your home, your job, your everything), how would your candidate’s social safety nets support you in getting back on your feet and starting over? How kind is your candidate to those who have nothing? (I believe this metric is a very good judge of character, and a good way to choose between candidates.)
  • Tax. What tax restructuring do they plan? A lot of candidates talk big on “lower taxes”, but when you look into what they want, the ultra-wealthy get a much bigger tax drop than ordinary people do. Is this the best way to govern society? Will you be better off with a miniscule, but even richer, ultra-wealthy population? Will your children?
  • Religion. Is this important to you? Are your candidates religious in name only? Do they actually follow the teachings of your faith (if any), or are they using it as an excuse to get more votes? Do they behave in a way that you would consider exemplary among your peers, not just attending services for a “free pass” on the religious vote. Do they work to support communities in hardship? What evidence have you seen? Do they have a track record of charity work and volunteering? Do they genuinely care about anyone except themselves?Religion can be a tricky one.

    I’ve seen a lot of candidates, and parties, using their religious status to gain votes in a particularly unethical way. I like to look at a person’s ethics and behaviour, and not just the label they like to attach to themselves.

  • Race, gender, equality. How does your candidate stand on these issues? Do they genuinely believe in equality for all? What do you believe? What action in this direction have you seen? How do your candidate’s beliefs align with your own?
  • The environment. Is your candidate concerned about climate change and the environment? Do they recognise that everything rests on having a healthy ecosystem and a viable planet? What do you think?

I’m sure there are other issues that you can think of, but by starting with what’s important to you, you can begin to figure things out.

I think a lot of voters have voted in the past, only to get something different to what we voted for. We’ve had promises broken, we’ve been lied to, we’ve been cheated on. No wonder we’re disillusioned!

But the political process is the best we’ve got right now. I think, in the coming decades, we’re going to see massive political change, especially in the United States and in Asia (particularly China). It’s going to be an interesting world.

2 thoughts on “Voting with your brain, not your habits

  1. Am a bit late to this post. My husband stood in the general election (Green Party) for the second time so we’re becoming more experienced at this game. For example it was easier to raise the £500 deposit that every prospective candidate has to pay. The election count night was fascinating. Whatever your political persuasion if you ever get the chance to attend one it is an amazing, and rather humbling, experience watching people sit and count, and count again, those pieces of paper that you put your X against. It is a very different way to stay up all night ( our result came in at 5.15am) but this is where democracy happens and fortunes change within a few hours. My husband quadrupled his vote but sadly fell just 130 votes short of getting his deposit back (you need 5% of the vote to achieve this).

    Like

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