Get out the Vote! ( in more ways than one…)October 25, 2008
Get Out the Vote! (In more ways than one…)
The upcoming election has me thinking…
Every country is in some way an experimental pairing of a political system and an economic system. In simple terms the US links a representative democracy (our political system) with a mostly capitalistic economic system. We’ve seen some of the benefits of such a union, as innovation and opportunity are for the most part highly encouraged. However, no system is perfect. We’ve also seen some of the downfalls. Greed sometimes warps innovation, such as when pharmaceutical companies change focus from finding cures using impartial research to pumping out products to reach sales goals. Profit-hoarding behaviors can smother opportunity (google “stock market”).
There is an underlying beauty to this system that few of us realize. We vote not only with our ballots on election day, we vote EVERY DAY with our dollars. A system based on the laws of supply and demand, though (somewhat) regulated by our laws and government, is ultimately directly governed by how we spend our money. And this is a power available to each and every individual. We can exercise this power daily and deliberately. Want to reform healthcare? Invest in therapies that align with your philosophies and that you would like to see as part of the healthcare system. Want our country to be more environmentally aware? Buy from green businesses and purchase products that have less environmental impact (production, packaging, safe disposal, etc.) Economic reform? Make a point of frequenting small, local businesses that are not only more in touch with, responsive to and more directly accountable to you, but that also will help build and strengthen our economy from the ground up. Even if these aren’t your particular values or focal points for change, live with the awareness that what you buy sends a message to the machine at large that this is what you would like more of. The same works in reverse of course. As Gandhi said, “BE the change you want to see in the world”… this functions practically and energetically as well.
Sometimes it costs a little extra time, money, and discipline. The exchange is well worth it. We end up empowered, with some self-respect, and often we end up saving, immediately or in the long run. We can take charge and consciously invest, in little ways, small daily decisions, our attitudes and perspectives, in the change we would like to see.
The bottom line is: it is a time to take personal responsibility and realize the power that lies in doing so. Realize you are empowered and BE empowered! GET OUT THE VOTE!… with your ballot AND with your wallet!
Recommended listening: With My Own Two Hands, Ben Harper We Are All in This Together, Ben Lee
Jen Toussant, HHP
MHPT Field Correspondent