The Ballot of November 3, 2020:

Beyond Candidates ~ Beyond Party

By Jorge D. H. Prósperi 2020

Each time we vote there are a host of crucial issues that are on the ballot beyond the names of candidates and political parties. On the ballot is the future – its hopes – its promises – another opportunity to authenticate and amplify the founding principles of America – be the election local, state and/or national.

I posit that on November 3, 2020 what will be on the ballot will not only be the name of candidates for President of the United States. But also on the ballot will be an opportunity to restore leadership, integrity, dignity and personal veracity. There is a hunger and thirst in America for leadership that is credible, trustworthy and takes responsibility for tough decisions. What is on the ballot will be ethics, empathy, emotional intelligence, moral courage and a connection with the human condition. 

I also believe that, like all other campaigns and elections, what will also be on the ballot are social -isms, phobias, and ideological threads that deal with justice, democracy, equality and access to opportunities of worth. 

While you go through the lists provided, think about the candidates associated with each concept – each element – each group – each ideology.  The lists begin with generic critical questions.

Are you aware of and do you understand each issue?
Are you aware of the language associated with each issue?
To what degree does your vote represent who you are?  
To what degree will your vote represent others who may not vote as you?
To what degree do you hope that if candidates that you vote for do not win – those who do win will keep you in mind and also represent you, your family, your children, your future?
Is the quality of your life and that of others important to you?
Is it important to you that the candidates constantly tell the truth?
Is credibility and trust important to you?

I thought about how many of us as ordinary citizens, (not presidents, legislators or CEOs), would have survived the scandals we have witnessed in the past three years resulting in disgraceful resignations and/or being criminally charged?

I wonder how many of us have asked simpler questions as ordinary citizens. For example, who among us would hire a proven incompetent candidate?  Who would want their son or daughter to marry a dysfunctional individual?  Who would want a son or daughter to be raised by an irresponsible parent? Who would want to have a relationship with a proven dishonest individual? Who would want a business partner who was a fraudulent charlatan? Who would want to befriend a pathological liar? What women would want to have a partner who disgraced and thought of her as a sexual commodity to be grabbed, owned and used?

Such questions are critical in 2020 because they are questions that citizens are not only asking introspectively as to their personal standards and character but also questioning family members, neighbors, colleagues, employers and legislators. COVID-19 has lifted the curtain on America’s underbelly – demanding critical questions demanding critical answers.

Why do citizens vote for a specific candidate?  Should the vote represent only a personal agenda or does the vote contain, by its very nature, a reciprocal component to look beyond self?

Such a question in 2020 is defining who Americans are as a people – not as a party, region, county and/or state . . . and the answer is on the ballot!

Let’s name the issues that tend to be front and center. The ones constantly on cable TV. The ones that are polled as being most prevalent and current. Let’s also add to the mix the filters of integrity, veracity, dignity and wisdom. You decide the chronological significance and important of each issue.  

Health Care
Climate Change
Racism (aversive, covert, overt)
Political Leadership (Credibility and Trust)
Economy that works for all Americans
Jobs in the 21st Century
Public Education
Immigration Reform
Urban/Rural/Suburban Divisions
Gun Violence
Police Reform (Police Chiefs, Police Unions, Recruitment and National Standards.)
Wall Street (The role of Capitalism advocating social justice and Democracy)

Now shift to what are called peripheral socio-cultural-political-economic lingering issues that should also be on our minds, hearts and spirits as fellow citizens. Yes, each exists in 2020 and require citizen research and astute awareness beyond self: 

Ageism, Anti-Semitism, Domestic Apartheid, Anti-Intellectualism, Authoritarianism, Biases, Bigotry, Birtherism (Birthism), Boys Will Be Boys, Chauvinism, Confirmation Bias, Conspiracy Theories, Demagoguery, Despotism, Discrimination, Domestic Slavery, Domestic Terrorism, Domestic Violence, Dysgenics, Eugenics, Fascism, Fear Mongering, Gaslighting, Good Old Boys’ Club, Hegemony, Hidden History, Historical (Revisionism, Denialism), Homelessness, Homophobia, Human Trafficking, Imperialism, Institutional Incest (Nepotism), Identity Politics, Indentured Servitude, Intellectual Inferiority Theory, Intergenerational Trauma, Internal Colonialism, Islamophobia, Jingoism, Legal Lynching, Lookism, Machoism, Mein Kampf revisited, Misandry, Misogyny, Multigenerational Trauma, Nationalsozialismus, Narcism, Nazism, Nativism, Obstructionism, Pathological Lying (The Big Lie), Patriarchy, Plantation Schools (athletics), Political Photo-Ops (use of Veterans, Religion, victims of tragedies), Poverty, Political Nepotism, Political (PTSD (fostering anxiety, stress and chaos), Predispositions, Prejudice, Profiling, Psychological Inferiority Theory, Racism (Overt, Covert, Aversive, Systemic, Institutional), Rape, Rule of Law, Scapegoating, Scientific Racism, Separátocide (caged children), Sexism, Sexual Assault, Sexual Coercion / Forced Camaraderie in workplace, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Separation of State and Church, Soul Wounds [Wakiksuyapi – Lakota], Stereotyping, Survivor Syndrome, Terrorism, Totalitarianism, Transphobia, Voting Rights and Access, Wedge Issues, White Entitlement, White Nationalism, White Loss, White Privilege, White Supremacy, White Griveance, Whistle Blower Protections, Women’s Rights to Choose, Xenophobia.

Some citizens tend to also keep in mind other major concerns that have historical significance impacting current thinking that should be kept in mind as Citizens of the World. 

Affirmative Action, College Admissions (Unethical Practices), Arranged/Forced Marriages, Child Abuse, Child Marriage, Child Slavery,  Colonialism, Doctrine of Discovery, Domestic Slavery, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Jim Crow Laws, Genocide, State Building, Lynching, Relocations (forced), Slavery, Middle Passage (slave ships), Terra Nullius, Unmarked Slave Graves.

Yes, all of such painful historical realities are also on the ballot. The candidate with respect, knowledge and a profound sense of history will hear the agonizing echoes of the past and acknowledge its lingering trauma and connectedness to the present and future.

A humble candidate acknowledging past injustices and with a clear vision, mission and guiding principles in our future, will be able to better represent, better able to listen to all citizens in the 21st Century. 

In turn, we must expect that a candidate of worth will challenge us to do our part, go beyond tolerance, reach out to each other, not only for ourselves, but for each other. The inclusivity a gift we leave to our children to build on.

The weight and responsibility of citizenship was never meant to be easy. Citizenship, by its very nature, is intended to be an arduous process because it often deals with the lives and deaths of fellow citizens.

We created the laziness, the cynicism, the casual disjointed self-centered nuances, childish excuses for staying at home on election day. Citizenship carries a heavy burden that should be felt daily – not only every two or four years.

VOTE like your life and the lives of your family members, friends, colleagues and fellow citizens depend on that vote . . . because they do.  VOTE and vote with the essence of citizenship . . . a conscientious conscience!