November 15th, 2012

bilbo

my election post-mortem

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been thinking about the elections lately. I followed the 2012 election intensely as I tried to decide who (indeed, if) to vote for. I also ended up volunteering at a local precinct, where I did the oh-so-glamorous work of directing voters to the right table to claim their ballots, for those who had left their voter ID card at home. I’ve also been more than a lit ticked off by laws that to my mind seem aimed at restricting voter turnout.

My involvement isn’t exceptional. I mean, I know lots of other friends that are more keyed in than I am, both with this election and with grass-roots activism in general. But I was pretty aware of this election for me. So I thought I’d offer some thoughts about how the election could be run in a more meaningful, less headache-inducing way.

1. Make it feel meaningful. I’m no fool, and I know that there’s very little chance that my vote will sway the election. A national election where a hundred votes like mine made any difference would be razor-thin. But it’s important that people feel like their vote matters – not so much for the sake of the election, but because this leads to more political engagement beyond the election.

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bilbo

Thoughts for Companies Thinking about Entering the Culture Wars

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

(Apologies for posting so much at once. When I’m feeling too sickly for real work and have limited internet connection, these things pile up.)

Tl;dr version? Don’t.

I’m noticing a trend in companies that make their living off Americans not thinking about what they’re doing, making statements that get Americans thinking. And whatever I think of the opinions being expressed, pragmatically it’s just not a good move to make.

It started with Chick-fil-A. I think most people remember the blow-up this summer. I was probably more sympathetic than most progressives to CFA because I generally think we’re all best off when people feel free to express their opinions, even unpopular ones. As someone whose ideas have always been different from a lot of other peoples’, I get really irritated at the idea that your being part of a community relies on you having the same ideas as other people in the community. It’s more about the nexus of social relationships, a commitment to other people living around you, than being just like them.

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