Fear Spoils Our Presidential Elections

All Of Us Know Fear

Everyone experiences fear sometime in his or her life. Some live in fear a lot while others enjoy lives that are more secure. When it comes to politics, fear can reshape our sense of reality and cause us to make choices that stultify creativity and constructive efforts.

Couple this with the idea that change causes fear to surge uncontrollably at times. We don’t normally like change. We like to have predictability and stability and security in our lives. It gives us a sense of control.

A Changing World Creates Fear

But the world is changing. Look around and it’s obvious that things are not what they were a few years ago, certainly not how they were a few short decades ago. The world has become smaller due to technology. We now communicate in seconds when it used to take hours or days or even months. Climate changes have caused increased dangers and risks around the world. Job demands do not resemble what they were in our recent past. Educational opportunities are more distant. Even knowing what to learn to prepare for the future can be daunting. Income inequality adds its own kind of stress. Even wars and military conflicts are different—the types of engagement have changed.

The list of changes can go on and on. Even listing the changes is a prompt to raise the “fear-o-meter” in many of us. They’re obvious, disturbing, and touch all of us in some way or another.

Fears often appear out of a cloud of ignorance or simply being unaware. Certainly, much of our fears are of our own making.

The Face Of Many Create Fear

You may have become aware that we now live in a world wherein people migrate—a lot! The reasons are many. Wars displace people. Climate change forces people to find better opportunities and safety. Local gang wars and national mayhem force people to run for their lives.

Those of us who are relatively undisturbed by any of these changes are still affected by those migrating. They are coming to our neighborhoods! Instead of rolling out welcome wagons we find ways to discourage the movements. Border security becomes a prime objective.

Ezra Klein’s Vox article, White threat in a browning America, confirms that America is changing fast. “According to the Census Bureau,” he says, “2013 marked the first year that a majority of US infants under the age of 1 were nonwhite.”

080818 White Minority

Further, he points out that… “The government predictsthat in 2030, immigration will overtake new births as the dominant driver of population growth.”

Our nation is changing—fast! The land of opportunity, as we often refer to it, is becoming a landscape of color [change] that elicits fear.

Political Rhetoric Fosters Fear

Rather than recognizing that the diversity around us is a strength, a vista of beauty even, many whites feel diminished. The current political rhetoric fuels this fear and our nation becomes divided.

It is this rhetoric and division that should get our attention and prompt us to learn more about who we really are. Are we inclusive or are we not? Are we truly a democracy or do we reserve that label for a selected few? Will we entertain fears that cripple our futures?

Complacency Gives Rise To Fear

Some have noted that the dividing sentiments have been with us for years. Today’s polarizing rhetoric, the lack of civil discourse, has further opened the door to let this fear loose among us. Where have we been? How has this happened? What did we not realize—or do?

Complacency! It’s so easy to shield our eyes from the obvious. Not listening and not doing is a perfect recipe for being surprised by a weakness or fault. And that surprise engenders fearful knee-jerk reactions.

Complacency Cooks The Frog

Are we like the frog that is cooked by boiling water, unaware that anything is changing?

080818 Boiling Frog

Complacency is insidious. Let me point out another pot of boiling waterwe are all sitting in.

Complacency Elects Our Presidents

I always return to the process of how we elect our president in this blog. I’m not pointing to who gets elected but, rather, to how the votes are counted.

Every presidential election finds us throwing away votes that were cast for a candidate who did not win the plurality of a given state. In 2016, for example, over 63 million votes (46% of votes cast) were ignored because we used a winner-takes-all approach in all 50 states.

We have become complacent. Can you feel the water boiling yet?

Election Complacency Is Reduced With Equal Voice Voting

Equal Voice Voting can be adopted by any state wherein its state legislators choose to do so. The winner-takes-all approach can be eliminated and replaced by a voting mechanism that makes every vote count! Every state that uses Equal Voice Voting will matter.

Our misplaced fears over what is lostdue to the mix of races in our nation are folly. Worry over being of a majority says much more, critically so, about those of us who are white than what we falsely fear. Remember, we are much more alike than we are different—much more!

Still, complacency is real. We see its consequences. Being aware of political realities and issues and challenges is vital. Becoming engaged in local politics helps. Being aware of how your vote counts, and is counted, makes a difference.

Tell others, especially your state legislators, to cool the boiling water by ridding your state of the winner-takes-all approach. Use Equal Voice Voting instead so every vote counts and every state matters!