It's the beginning of November of an election year here in the U.S. and, as usual, all hell has broken loose. I've been a voter for more than half of my life now and every 4 years the candidates may be different, but the politics are the same.
Two main players belonging to very different groups battle it out in the media and drag each other through the mud. (And that's putting it nicely.) While the start of any political campaign seems to focus on the issues, the changes that they intend to make and why they are fit for the job of POTUS, in November it boils down to a lot of nit-picking, nastiness, and numbers.
And in this digital age of insta-information, it's hard to tell what is truth amongst so many lies. You could see one news article claiming one thing while just below it on your Facebook feed you'll see a dozen more claiming the opposite.
Most of us think that the MEDIA has become the biggest problem. And we feel the anger, frustration and absolute disgust with almost everything we watch, hear or read these days.
We are swimming in a whole lot of negativity as a nation right now because we, the people, have built this momentum.
All the things we say we hate about politicians and the media.... that's exactly what WE, the people, are responsible for creating.
And that's the truth.
So how do we go about fixing this mess?
We must first recognize our individual role in it.
Stella Orange explains in her guidance to writers, that we choose to feed the bad wolf or the good wolf. It's always the one we choose to feed that grows.
Using this analogy, we could say that the media, and more specifically the negativity in the media, is the Big Bad Wolf. It gets fed A LOT.
So how are YOU feeding that Big Bad Wolf?
Every time you read an article or watch a video about the stuff you hate about the candidate you hate or the latest scandal. Every time you circulate it by sharing it on social media. Every time you talk about it with your spouse, your friends, your colleagues. All that keeps it in motion, the momentum building.
Know how you play a role in feeding that negative energy and you can stop it.
You can choose to feed the good wolf. The good stuff that you want to see more of. Spread the word about the good things that candidate you want to be president is doing. Generate positive momentum. Feed THAT wolf. Trust me, you'll feel much better.
Next, end the blame game.
Be honest. Who (or what) do you blame for stuff gone wrong in your life? Is it a certain political party, a person, the government?
I think we're all guilty of this to a certain degree, which is why our political discussions can become so heated. It can be a great motivator for creating change and supporting the things that we want to cultivate in our country.
Let's face it. The presidential hopefuls have designed their entire political campaigns around what WE blame for our sucky lives.
It's important to remember that whenever we blame something outside of ourselves we plop ourselves right down into the victim role. We relinquish our power to something we believe is bigger than us, more powerful than us.
If we want to see our nation rise up, we must know we are a powerful part of it. We must heal ourselves if we want to heal our nation as a whole. Our everyday choices create a ripple effect. Each of us has the power to be the single flame that lights up a dark room.
Which brings me to my final point...
Every vote counts.
And I don't just mean the bubbles you fill in next to names on your ballot on November 8th.
We vote everyday with what we choose to focus on.
For example, let's say you blame the media for political corruption and all that's wrong in our country right now.
Every time you share something negative that a big news outlet has produced you are A) feeding that BIG BAD WOLF, B) Blaming the media and essentially giving them your power and C) VOTING for more of that very thing that you hate by circulating it.
Because the nuts and bolts of it is, the media produces MORE of whatever gets views and clicks because that's how they make money with ad revenue. You vote for the content that is giving them more money (more power) every time you click, view, retweet, share, etc.
And we, as consumers, are waking up and voting all the time with our purchases. I would bet that there is a company you don't buy from because of some unethical practice that you discovered they use. It could even be for reasons that are more close to home, like a product that malfunctioned or that sweater with seams that unraveled after one wash and you swore to never buy that brand again.
I'm guessing for those things you probably found another brand or company to buy from. Essentially voting for another option.
I'm sure by now you have probably decided which candidate you will vote for when the day comes. Use that same conviction and desire for a better future, that I'm sure is the motivation behind your vote, to guide you when you vote everyday with what you consume and circulate. Vote for what you believe in, instead of what you despise.
We must remember that each and every one of us has the power to reshape America's future with the choices we make. Not just on Election Day, but every day.
I believe that both candidates got it right with their taglines. WE ARE #StrongerTogether and WE CAN #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.