I was in Turkey last month and traveled with Canadians, Australians, people from India and fellow Americans. We compared notes on our respective elections. Both Australia and Canada are ruled by minority governments. Hmmm. Looks like we are going that way with the Tea Party and all. Broad overarching principles and values seem to be on out and short term interests are in. I had to think about our situation. At a time, when history is forgotten and constantly changed to fit individual reality, how do we deal with the doublespeak that we get from all sides. Here are some tips.

  1. Remember that after all is said and done, there are three types of candidates — the “bootstrap yourself because no one will help you,” the “government should help the poor in the way they help business” and somewhere in between. Figure out who the candidates really are.
  2. Put in the time to research and understand the issues and candidate backgrounds. There’s no getting around that.
  3. Vote with your values and positions on issues, not your class identity. Choose between helping the poor and preserving our mostly middle class status is not good enough. There has to be new thinking. Remember, most Americans, that means you and me, are only one paycheck away from poverty.
  4. If you don’t have the time to research and understand issues, get recommendations with reasons from those who you respect and can rely on.
  5. Last but not the least, go beyond blogging or your regular TV/radio/internet info. You’re talking to yourself and you are not learning anything new. Check out the other side.

P.S. If you don’t vote in Australia, you get fined. Please VOTE.

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