Monday, November 5, 2018

Voting, Authoritarianism, Etc.

Tomorrow many Americans will head to the polls to cast their votes. Some have already done so (early voting is brilliant, in my opinion) and some will not vote at all. A lot is at stake in this election, and I will simply repeat that I think it is best to vote for those who will be most kind to others in their policy making. Vote not for your own interests, but for what is best for the most people. What good can you do in the voting booth? I think the choice between self-interest and compassion is pretty clear this time around.

Z and I continue to read about and discuss World War 2. She is reading a book now about a girl who grew up in Germany during and after the war. She was in Berlin at the time of the beginning of the wall. Z was sharing with me that the schoolchildren were all confused at this time. First they were taught to follow the Nazis and that ideology, then were told to forsake the Nazis and their ideology, and then when Russia controlled part of Germany, they were told to adhere to the Russian ideology. For people who were used to doing as they were told, this was quite a lot of directives without a lot of understanding.

And this is why I cannot get behind authoritarianism at all. I have never taught my children to do as someone says merely because they are in authority, and in fact I am now actively teaching them what some may consider the opposite. It is dangerous to follow someone just because they are in charge or older or what have you. Even when it comes to me as a mother, I don't want my children to do as I say just because I say to do it, and I'm the parent and therefore the authority. I want them to do as I say because I have proved that I am trustworthy, and I would not ask them to do something without good reason. Sometimes we do need to do as someone in authority says, whether we have had a chance to judge them trustworthy or not, but we must never blindly follow anyone. We must always use the wisdom given us to determine if the person's instructions are worth following.

It would be easier, to be sure, if my children blindly followed me sometimes. The reason I am so late to sit down to write tonight is because one of my children had a question about if she could trust me or not, and it took a long time to work it out. I would've loved it if it hadn't taken so long, but trust is not an easy process, and sometimes I've got to work really hard to earn it. Sometimes I have to work really hard due to circumstances that are in no way my fault, and that can be especially hard. But I signed on to this parenting gig, and sometimes that's just part of the deal. So I put in the work.

Which brings us full circle to voting. Who is putting in the work? Who will put in the work in the long term, not just for you and people like you, but for everyone? Who will welcome the stranger and the refugee? Who can be trusted? Vote for those people. That's my advice.

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