News media attempt to focus attention on certain elections by treating the elections as a game and by spreading the latest chat worthy gossip about candidates. And yet elections are more than a game between warring brands, images, or teams. The decisions of power elites affect the lives of millions of people. The question is not which candidate is winning a race, but how can “We the People” win?
Franklin Roosevelt suggested that we all win when we have “freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.” Eleanor Roosevelt and people from around the world incorporated those four freedoms into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets an international moral standard for dignified living. Even with the high ideals of the Declaration, people still live in fear of violence, poverty, and authoritarian control.
Roosevelt’s four freedoms still underly much of people’s political discussions. Election time brings out deep needs, hopes, fears, and loyalties. Our reactions are complicated by the uncertainty in the information we have. The information we have can be both incomplete and overwhelming, relies on predictions, and involves questions about inconsistent human behavior. These decisions are tough and take focus. Some people end with questions about the value of voting or participating in our political processes.
Many Humanists consider participation in democratic processes to be a civic duty. Humanists want to see people enjoy a good life. That includes a “just distribution,” protection of nature, commitment to diversity, and respect for those with “differing yet humane values.” I urge everyone to vote. But no matter who wins or loses, there is much that will need to be done to move our nation toward the high ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We will all need to work toward a better future for ourselves, others, and the world. We’re all in this together.
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