Food for Thought

Today is Election Day.  It is the day voters formally cast their ballots for the office of President of the United States, the person that will govern the country for the next 4 years.  There is an enormous amount at stake; and we are going to the polls as a country that has never been more politically and philosophically divided than we are now. In the past several decades, turnout among voting-age adults has ranged from 50%-60%. It is surprising that in a democracy where every voice has a vote (at least since African American men’s suffrage, women’s suffrage, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965), so few Americans exercise their right to vote.  Age, race, education, income, and gender have all been found to be major variables affecting the likelihood of a given person voting.

Our democracy has never functioned perfectly.  A sense of patriotism, civic duty, and a vision for bettering our country co-exist and mix with the abuse of power, greed, and corruption.  Different candidates and elected officials may embody a greater number of these positive or negative traits, but as in all aspects of life people’s motives are complex and cannot be neatly sorted.

It is hard to feel adequately informed about the many salient issues confronting us as a nation.  This difficulty has been compounded since the advent of social media and the proliferation of cable television.  When we all watched the same news programs, which provided the same (mostly) factual information to all viewers, differences of opinion were based on individual interpretations and frameworks for understanding the same information.  Now, even facts are open for interpretation.  We live in an age of information, disinformation, and the inability to sometimes determine accurately which is which.  Let us talk about our thoughts and feelings about today’s election and where you would like to see us go as a country in the next 4 years.

Questions to Consider:

  • What thoughts and feelings have you had during the months, weeks, and days coming up to this election?
  • What are your primary worries about the country in the coming 4 years?
  • How significant are politics to you? Has this changed as you have gotten older?
  • What are your hopes and fears about the outcome of today’s Presidential election?
  • Why is it so difficult to talk openly about politics in groups with mixed political perspectives?

All rights reserved © 2020 Beth Firestein, Ph.D.                    Wise Women Group