Labels Surface In Political Elections

Labels Help Us Make Decisions

Labels are useful. Of course the function of labels for our daily mail ensures letters and pamphlets and boxes arrive where they are intended. That’s a label service we often take for granted, seldom appreciating but quick to curse if a wrong address is used.

Labels of people, too, serve a function. It’s become commonplace to better understand one another if we can just find the appropriate label. A great example is the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. After answering a set of questions, evidence emerges (test results) that indicates if we’re extroverted or introverted, for example. There are three more comparisons used that, when used in combinations, reveal 16 different personality types or preferences.

The instrument is useful in business, in schools, and relationships. It helps to understand each other, even encouraging us to allow for our differences to make a better life experience.

Labels Divide Us

Lately, however, labels are showing their dark side. While we rely on labels to comprehend the political environment, many can actually divide us. Consider some of these common polarities:

  • Democrat/Republican
  • Liberal/Conservative
  • Left/Right
  • Active/Complacent
  • Moderate/Radical
  • Wealthy/Poor

Other labels stand on their own, drawing people to or away from them creating a gulf that separates one from another. Consider these labels that accuse and create perceptions that may or may not be accurate—dividing people from each other:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Career
  • Language

Other labels include, for example: capitalism, socialism, isolationism, globalism, populism, and nationalism. These and many other “isms” serve to divide even as they increase understanding and allegiance.

These lists can be more extensive, of course. I think we can all agree that the words (labels) are useful to help us gain understanding. However, it’s important to notice that they also separate us into distinct groups that emphasize how we’re different from each other. Such separations color our political landscapes such that we are now a divided nation.

Consider the common use of “us” versus “them.” We all want to be in the “us” camp and not be excluded into those “other” people (whomever they may be). It’s a common dichotomy that divides us and forfeits opportunities to understand one another.

Labels Indicate Spectrums

One of the limitations of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is that it is predicated on binary choices. You’re labeled as either this or that. The qualitative aspect (how much of this or that) is largely left unseen and unsaid.

Here’s a challenge: Consider any label you see above, in either list, and assess yourself accordingly. Any label you choose indicates a spectrum upon which you can be placed. Further, if you identify with any label, what is your reaction to those with labels different from yours? A spectrum of response comes into play.

The Singer-Loomis Type Deployment Inventory is another evaluation instrument that provides more granular results than Myers-Briggs. It reveals more than a forced choice (either/or) assessment, showing our preferences is more nuanced. It helps to remove categorical assumptions and moves boundaries for greater comprehension of the nuances that make an individual unique.

Equal Voice Voting Is A Nonpartisan Mechanism

This blog will never tell you whom you should vote for. Of course, the blog emphasizes HOW we should elect a president with Equal Voice Voting. It is simply a mechanism and not a partisan influencer for any presidential election.

Consider the usual election map of states showing they are either red (Republican) or blue (Democrat). That’s a false representation of voting for within each state resides large blocs of voters who ascribe to the state’s minority political party/parties. Instead, each state is more purple than the binary extremes of red or blue indicate.

Equal Voice Voting recognizes how purple each state is. The voting mechanism makes every vote count and every state matter. Equal Voice Voting does not discard the minority voice experienced by the winner-takes-all approach. The spectrum of choice matters! It should be recognized in our presidential elections.

The Label Of We The People

We are going to vote in the midterm elections in a couple of weeks. We are busy evaluating candidates and policies, calling into play a host of labels to help us wend our way through the chatter. Our values (more labels) and preferences (more labels) encourage and dissuade us while making our choices. The spectrum of choices all of us submit with our votes matter.

But, there is one label I hope you remember as you vote. There is one label that stands out, in my opinion, which has been with this nation since its inception. It’s one label that quickly differentiates this country from most others of the world. That label is:

102418 We The People

These are the opening words to the Preamble of our Constitution. Our nation was founded on the idea that the rules apply to everyone. We are all in this together.

Remember We The People And Vote

So as you consider your choices in this midterm election, try not to vote because we are a divided nation of labels. Rather, consider the label of “We The People” and how your choices will affect how we live, work, and play with each other. Consider how WE are stronger together than individually. Remember, too, that the “We The People” label extends beyond your life and that your vote touches neighbors, friends, family, and generations to come. Your vote has power to affect the fruits of our labors and the character of our being—for everyone.

Remember “We The People” when you vote. Weigh in with your values and preferences and, especially, what you wish our country to be. Then be sure to: