How to vote for yourself: empowering politics
As elections loom in Canada and the US, we're faced with two opposing dynamics—or two halves of the same cycle. In the States, there's a highly principled person in power, yet he may be replaced by a man who shows contempt for others and seems only interested in empire-building at their expense. In Canada, we have a prime minister who's now despised and loathed by millions, yet he could win again (given his power-mongering and collusion with big business), unless we take a stand for what's right.
If, as an American, you feel inclined to attack President Obama's track record, ask yourself how realistic it is to expect one person to change the mindset of a nation, eliminate unemployment, clean up the mess made by the last guy, wipe out crime, provide a viable healthcare system for a nation of junk-food addicts —and fix all your personal problems, while you (presumably) have done nothing to address any of those issues.
And if, as a Canadian, you attack Stephen Harper's Machiavellian style of ruling, you might ask yourself how he could have been elected in the first place. What is it about us that allowed that to happen? What are we failing to do in our own lives that he has exploited to his own advantage? And why do we support a political system that allows him to remain in power, despite the devastation he's causing? We have every right to be angry with this man, yet we remain passive and disempowered, waiting for that flawed electoral process to kick in again so that, hopefully, someone better gets in.
Either way, we stay stuck in the same old cycle, blaming politicians for what's not working, while failing to reclaim our own autonomy and, as a result, feeling powerless to change things.
Their job or mine? What we expect from our leaders:
- We expect them to resolve international relations, yet we rarely connect with our neighbours or heal our own relationships.
- We expect them to fix the healthcare crisis, yet we continue to eat foods/lead lifestyles that harm our bodies and create costly, deadly diseases.
- We expect them to protect the environment, yet we foul our beaches, spew toxins into the air, use billions of plastic bags, and live a wasteful, throwaway existence.
- We expect them to preserve our natural resources, yet we still buy gas-guzzling cars and burn oil as if it were a birthright.
- We expect them to put an end to religious/racial/political wars, yet we promote divisiveness by letting our beliefs (and our need to be right) override our humanity.
No wonder Harperialism has been able to take root and grow …and no wonder Obama is looking tired.
No one can bring about positive change in our lives—or in politics—if we operate in self-destructive, irresponsible or dysfunctional ways. No one can fix your drinking problem, your bad diet, your abusive relationship, or the fact that you hate your job—and maybe even yourself. Lasting, positive change only happens when we address the beliefs that drive our thinking and our drinking, as well as our choices, actions, self-worth and success. I may not understand how politics work (probably because they don't), but I do understand the human dynamics that drive us. If politicians don't have that kind of understanding, they can't truly master their own lives, let alone run a country—and they certainly can't change you. If we were all self-aware and self-responsible, however, it would transform the political process and the nature of government itself.
It's not about stopping them; it's about starting you…
The problems we face—and the shortcomings of elected officials—are designed to push us to take action. (And if we fail to act, things usually get worse.) So if you realize that being a passive victim is part of the problem, maybe you'll start to make the changes in your life that you want to see in your world. Politics are not just about finding the best man/woman for the job; they're about 'pushing your buttons' (as Harper does, so effectively) and activating the power of you.
Who you elect to be = who gets elected
Who gets elected is a direct reflection of:
- how empowered we are as individuals
- how much responsibility we abdicate to others
- what matters most to us (money + profit or healthy humans + planet)
- what we believe we can achieve
- how much we surrender our power/hopes/dreams to someone else
- the values we ourselves embody (we all have some Trumpness/Harperialism inside us)
We're sustaining a system that consistently fails to produce the results we say we want, but that keeps us distracted from our own inaction. We fight over who should be elected, we insult the opposition, we praise our chosen candidate …and, six months after they get elected, we attack their decisions, their lack of integrity, and their failure to do what they promised to do.
What did you expect? Did you promise to make positive changes, serve your community, learn a new skill, heal your relationships, master your own mind or take responsibility for your actions, reactions and life choices? If you didn't, what difference would it make what they did? No one can override our refusal to grow or take responsibility for our own existence.
Follow me… I'll be right behind you
True leaders and change-makers encourage others to powerfully lead their own lives. They don't want followers; they want other leaders to join them in creating the change they've been elected to spearhead, not to create all on their own. Leaders can only ever be as good as those they're leading. If the latter refuse to be led or to be leaders in their own lives, the elected leaders will forever be swimming against the tide.
There are, essentially, three kinds of politicians:
- Leaders, who lead you to lead with them
- Feeders, who feed the hand that feeds them
- Needers, who need you to need them.
Once you recognize what politicians stand for, you can knowingly choose what you want to support …by embodying those same principles in your own life.
Six signs of a true leader (like him or not, Obama ticks almost every box)
- a commitment to empowering self/others and to making things right
- good health, solid values, loving relationships and self-respect
- authenticity, integrity, transparency and the courage to admit one's mistakes
- faith in self and in everyone's ability to 'power up' and make a difference
- an understanding of how human nature drives behaviour
- supports policies for the people, the planet, prosperity and posterity
Six signs of a feeder (could Harper be a more perfect fit?)
- collusion with big business and profit-driven corporations
- a hunger for money, power and control
- suppression of free speech and democracy (scary stuff, for a dictator)
- destruction/exploitation of our natural environment and resources
- manipulation and enforcement of the loyalty of others, to ensure complete control
- a blatant disregard for what the people want.
Six signs of a needer (Hillary Clinton may be one, with her 'I love' mugs, big smile & tireless legwork)
- a need to be needed & liked (which can lead to compromises/saying yes to the wrong people)
- a need to win and to prove oneself (which can forge excellence, if wisely directed)
- an edginess that belies a deeper insecurity
- says what the people want to hear (and may genuinely believe/support it)
- hedges bets on contentious issues (e.g. taxes, marijuana…) until safely elected
- often has strong skills, commitment and hard-won experience, due to the need to prove.
Donald Trump deserves his own special category of 'needy-bleeder-feeder', which is a sub-category reserved for sub-humans who:
- attack others in an attempt to elevate themselves, since they lack substance on their own
- are deeply insecure but try to mask it with their bluster, arrogance and aggressiveness
- build their empire by climbing over others on their way to the top
- lack character, strong moral fiber, integrity and basic human decency
- use whatever means they can (money, sensationalism, insults) to serve their own agenda
- create trumped-up charges against worthy opponents, to curry favour among the malcontents.
Don't say I didn't warn you: if Trump or Harper gets elected, you'll be crying all the way to your therapist.
Both men (and I use the term loosely) would greatly benefit from an immersion course on how to reclaim one's humanity—ideally, in some bracing Arctic environment, and possibly with some pharmaceutical assistance. Compared to Trump and Harper, most of the other contenders—Justin Trudeau & Tom Mulcair (in Canada) and Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton (in the US)—seem to be fairly stellar human beings, with varying degrees of leadership and needership between them. Bear in mind, though, that it's far more important to elect someone with integrity than someone who plays to your needs/fears and says what they think you want to hear. On the other hand, if you can't distinguish between integrity and duplicity, should you even be voting?
Vote for yourself
There's no point in voting for change 'out there', if you don't give yourself the same vote of confidence. If we were all committed to positive growth, healthy relationships, operating with integrity, taking charge of our own minds/choices, and protecting our planet, no self-serving politician would ever get elected. In a world like that, Harper would be doing community service in Siberia for even thinking he could exploit humans or the planet. And no one could trick us into believing that they could fix things, if we knew that only we can change our own minds about what's possible and what we deserve.
We're better than this …if we believe that
There's a deeper truth that's trying to emerge: no leader or politician can successfully run our country unless we take responsibility for running our own bodies, minds and lives.
Embracing that truth and empowering ourselves, in practical ways, is the only thing that's going to change our own lives and the nature of those who get elected. That means accessing the deeper truth about you—what you subconsciously believe; how your fears and self-doubts shape your life; what you're capable of contributing to your world; what you're truly worth; why you're stocking shelves at Walmart when you could be living your dream—and then taking action to change your own 'story'.
If we don't do that, we won't consistently get true leaders, we'll be forever frustrated with the feeders, and we'll consider ourselves lucky to have a needer—who might, at least, meet some of our needs. But co-dependence doesn't just affect our personal relationships; it also influences our values, outlook and choices.
So, what kind of win do you want from your next election? And what kind of win could you create, right now, by making one small positive shift in your life? If we all did that—354 million Americans and Canadians making one small positive shift—can you imagine the seismic shift that would create …and the wonderful win for our world? No matter who wins these elections, if it's not a win-win-win—a win for them, for us and for our planet—it's not a win at all.
As elections loom in Canada and the US, we’re faced with two opposing dynamics—or two halves of the same cycle.