Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Cocktail Party 2010 Election Day Statement: Don't Believe Everything You Think

I had read that in one place.”

It's happened to all of us -- when that “fact” of which we were so certain turns out to be fiction. It's so easy to mishear, misremember, misunderstand or otherwise miss the point.

Unfortunately, that's no excuse, not when we're talking about as great a responsibility as the governance of our nation. We must demand more of our representatives and more of ourselves. We must be certain.

We must do our homework.

Every child in this nation is owed an education, because our founding fathers understood that an educated, informed and engaged electorate was absolutely necessary to the success of this grand experiment in Democracy. We live in an era of unprecedented access to information, of nearly infinite quantity and infinitely-varied quality. Sorting through and making sense of it all is, without question, a challenge.

The Cocktail Party, however, firmly believes that it is worth it.

“Trusting your gut,” is undoubtedly the way to go when selecting your bi -weekly lottery numbers (Come on Super Lotto, show us some love!) or which puppy you're going to take home from the shelter. It is a decidedly less effective way of selecting elected officials. Emotional investment is and should be a part of the voting process, but as a companion to, not replacement for, cold hard fact.

Listening to the opinions of others is invaluable. The issues you've been asked to decide will affect a great many people for a long time to come. Getting different points of view is both responsible and wise. Be careful, however, not to let another's feeling become your fact. Behind every strongly worded opinion (even ours!) lies a far more complex issue.

The outcome of this, of any, election will have a tangible effect on your life and the lives of your family and community members. Whatever state, country or city you're voting in, important decisions on weighty matters have been entrusted to you.

Before you head to the polls today, know the facts.

Today's exercise:

Next: Depends on what kind of mood we're in after the results are in.

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