This fall’s midterm election is sure to be full of emotion, anxiety and a fair bit of tension. Many of us will go to the polls on November 6th to elect new or existing members to Congress to be our representatives in Washington DC. We will vote for those who most closely align with our individual ethical standards and our beliefs about what is important. The choices we make will have a substantial impact on the direction of our country and the world in the years ahead.
For some of us, however, the choices may be limited. The seat may be uncontested in your district, or none of the candidates might represent your values. In this case, your direct options are to vote for the least bad candidate or to get inspired to run for office yourself during the next election. That being said, voting in elections is not the only way to participate in democracy. There are other ways to express your ideals that are just as essential.
While the election this fall is important in shaping the politics of the coming years, there are other votes we all make, every day. These votes are choices, related to where we spend our money, our time and our thoughts. With these everyday votes, we can have an immeasurable impact on our community and the world around us. So while you’re deciding how to vote this fall in the election, I challenge you to also reflect on how you vote each day by running through this simple exercise below.
Think about the products you purchase every day, week or month.
Most of us work, socialize and spend our time in various ways, sometimes productively and sometimes simply for relaxation. How we spend our time is also a vote.
This is a little less concrete than where you spend your money and time. But what you give your attention to is also a form of vote. All of us are bombarded each day with messages, ads and content vying for our awareness. You can’t possibly concentrate on everything happening around you, so you must choose what and whom to pay attention to.
I hope this quick post and exercise is a useful and helpful reminder to reflect on the votes we all make each day. If together we make better choices, we can affect real change in our personal lives and in the world around us.
Please feel free to share in the comments below your thoughts on everyday votes you have made that you are proud of! What do you hope to change this fall?
By Rink Dickinson, Equal Exchange President Equal Exchange was founded as an alternative trade organization…30 October 2018