When I was first asked about writing an OpEd piece on politics...my first thought was H E double hockey sticks NO!!! Politics has become such a hot button; no way did I want my opinion on paper. Yet here I type, what changed? Shockingly, a Facebook Meme changed my opinion. Go ahead, roll your eyes, that's okay; I rolled my eyes at myself.
It was a meme addressing the Kavanaugh hearings (one of this year’s hot button issues). The message simply stated...”next time you don't believe a rape victim, think of your mother, your sister, your daughter. Next time you ask us to believe an accusation without evidence, think of your dad, your brother, your son.”
The meme sums up my opinion on most issues. If it's a true "issue," then it is probably a hard topic and even harder decision. The Kavanaugh proceedings were essentially a he-said-she-said with a thirty-five year gap; a hard topic the day after, and seemingly impossible as time lapses. Getting to the truth on a simple issue is hard enough—adding complexity to the issue creates an impasse.
So, as hard issues come up, how do we get to our truth? We rely on traditional sources, which today, aim to excite rather than inform. This is a great business model, but a tragic truth model.
When I have indecision and need an answer, I ask for insight, guidance, and wisdom from people who have a completely different opinion than myself. If I love an investment, I look for those who do not. If I hate an investment, I look for those who trust it for their clients (and their own money). I seek what I may be missing, regardless of my initial thought.
This thought process is not unique. I believe it’s exactly how our Founding Fathers approached the writing of our constitution. They debated slavery at a time when the majority of politicians owned slaves—an issue they initially got wrong—even though it was an arduous debate. Their missteps on slavery aside, our Founding Fathers get an A+ for their guidance. They set up a framework for democracy that has allowed this to be the greatest country on earth.
They didn't get everything right the first time. They knew they wouldn't. They knew that important issues are hard. They knew issues can change over time and opinions can sway. They also knew nearly 250 years ago that those who came after wouldn't always get things right too. Our founding fathers knew that free conversation with others who did not share their opinion would get them closer to the truth. And so they persisted.
As you look to the issues on this ballot, form your opinion on each issue, then find someone who has a different opinion. Ask hard questions, but in a kind way.
If there is a measure for school funding, ask a teacher, ask a student, especially if you and your kids have been out of the loop for years. If you have kids in school, ask someone who does know how the measure will affect them.
If there is a measure effecting oil and gas, ask someone who works in that industry. If you are in the industry, ask someone who is not.
If there is a measure effecting roads, ask some who drives a different direction, or doesn't commute at all, or someone who works in public works.
If there is a measure that would ban all political ads during sporting events, or prime time, or anywhere...vote YES. :)
We are a government of the people for the people. There is no us or them; only us. Visit a coffee shop, diner, and talk. Old school—face to face, not Facebook. We are all closer to each other than we feel. And the more we feel and connect, the closer we can come to solving complex issues.
Milt Murphy has extensive expertise in the financial services industry. He began his career over 20 years ago in risk management and worked with Institutions at Sammons before coming to AAM.