Recent polls show that between 8 and 10 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the job Congress is doing; 31 percent of Americans, by comparison, have a favorable view of socialism.
As we enter the home stretch of the election cycle, let’s take a closer look at what drives us to decide how to vote. The lower brain responds to fear and hate. The higher brain processes data and reaches conclusions based on reason and facts.
Too often, we see tactics that attack people that express divergent views. This behavior appeals to our fears and hatred. A person is cast as a something threatening to our community, someone that does not care for the values we hold dear. Another employed tactic is to associate a divergent view with a shadowy, undefined group we should fear. After the character attack is complete, we are expected to divert our attention from the valid concerns of the issue and vote as a reaction to the person. We are expected to vote for issue “A” because someone opposing issue “A” is characterized as contrary to our values. This is like a sleight-of-hand trick. It diverts attention from the issue and focuses on an artificial creation of a person. This is an appeal to our lower brain functions.
The challenges we face as a community, a country and a planet are too great to deal with from our lower brains. Fear and hatred need to be transcended. We need to analyze issues by looking at the presented facts and valid arguments. Presented facts are not always as they seem to be. Valid arguments can be made for both sides of issues. I appeal to all of us to question facts. What are the evidences the “facts” are based on? Are they valid? Do they pass the BS test? We have to weigh the valid arguments. There are no easy answers. We need to use our higher brain functions to process all the information.
The one issue I am most familiar with is hydro. My involvement in this issue this past winter was as much a protest against the process as an opposition to the project. I felt then and continue to believe that there are three aspects of the project that will determine how individuals cast their vote. They are: process, finances and stream ecology. The process has been changed, thanks in part to the group I was involved with over the winter, which brought numerous concerns about the project into focus. That leaves two big aspects to consider when we vote on this ballot issue. I have read arguments on both sides of the stream ecology and remain concerned and unconvinced that the hydro project will kill the creeks or the city’s efforts will protect them. The financial arguments need to be thoughtfully considered by all.
Do the parties involved believe in human-caused climate change? Is there a minimum streamflow for Castle and Maroon creeks that is acceptable to all sides? Should the hydro plant be built regardless of the cost? I ask all parties involved to publicly answer these questions.
I hope that the other two issues on the ballot are discussed in public with full respect for all involved and with open minds. The one given, that I hope we can all agree on, is that everyone who feels passionate either way on these issues shares a love of our community. Let us all process through the issues using our higher brain functions and reject appeals to fear and hate.