It’s voting season again and it’s often a trying experience. Repetitive political ads of questionable validity, additional junk mail, polling phone calls, and more and more of your mental space taken up by politics. Then the decisions – who or what to vote for. For regular voters, this season never seems to end. But even for those who only vote every four years in presidential elections (about 55% of the US voting population) or sporadically, the season has become longer, and more contentious, with every election.

We all have our own opinions, our understanding of the issues. Many let their political party decide the issues and select which candidates they should support. Some can’t be bothered and vote according to what others have recommended. Real democracy is not easy. If we really want to choose the right person, we need to think carefully and make conscious decisions. It’s important that we feel comfortable with our decisions and can live with them. That’s not always easy.

Getting in touch with your “inner voter” can be helpful. This refers to being able to listen to that deeper voice inside that is guided by our conscience or discriminating intellect. Here is a 3-step approach to get in touch with your “inner voter”.

1. First, you need to decipher what the candidates are actually saying or promising. Increasing amounts of misinformation and spin makes this task difficult. Study is essential in this first stage. We need to examine the past experience and positions of each candidate to understand what they truly represent. Then we must study the different sides of their positions and promises from different sources. Experts, published research, and other sources can bring these issues into clarity.
2. Second, we need to apply rationality in our decision making. There are many ways to define rationality. Here we will define a rational decision as one that first determines the pros and cons of a particular position or candidate. We have to understand which has more pros or positive aspects than other options. Then, once we select the most positive one or reject the negative one, we need to analyze if our decision is ultimately helpful, for ourselves and for others. Such a rationalistic mentality would make sure that those candidates or issues we select are the best or most helpful for society.
3. Finally, we need to understand that we live in an interdependent world. Our votes affect our families, our communities, our country, and the entire planet. As human beings, we need to connect with our most profound cardinal values of justice, of rights, of benevolence, that apply to all peoples and to all living beings.
Connecting to our “inner voter” means to vote for those people and issues that support these deepest human values and promote our collective welfare.

Democracy is in trouble when the majority of the population fail to make judicious decisions in the voting booth. When we are swayed by false claims, unethical arguments, and selfish motivations, then we end up with a government that doesn’t work for us nor for the public good.

Developing our inner voter can help us to select a government that positively affects our lives, our communities, and our earth. We have the collective wisdom to choose the best government possible – let’s use it.

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