I’m eager for Tuesday. Yes, I’m very much looking forward to the cessation of incoming election spam. I’m also looking forward to voting in support of candidates I truly believe make the world a better place.
I know, I know. We’re not supposed to talk about politics. Yeah, well I think that’s a big part of how we got ourselves into this current mess. We feel/are divided in large part because we’ve divided ourselves. In her book, I Never Thought of it That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times, Mónica Guzmán notes three dynamics at play in this regard: sorting, othering, and siloing. She’s quick (like, on-page-1 quick) to note that our inclination to sort, other, and silo is part of human nature. And, she notes, “[W]e can totally hack them if we know what we’re doing (so we’re still the boss of them, yay!)” (1).
Generally speaking, I don’t think we know what we’re doing. I include myself in that “we,” of course – I mean, I checked out this book, right? And while I waited for it to be delivered via interlibrary loan, I watched Guzmán’s TED Talk, “How Curiosity Will Save Us.” Here she notes how all this sorting, othering, and siloing results in a distorted view of the world. And, that “curiosity busts through the reality distortion fields that are blinding us to each other for one beautiful reason: every human being wants to be seen.”
I’ve come to realize that this quality – curiosity – is what draws me to the candidates I’m most excited to vote for. To be clear, I don’t necessarily agree 100% with all of the plans or actions of any of these candidates (and I’d be happy to discuss further if you’re curious). And that’s really no different than any vote I’ve cast in the past two decades. It all comes down to priorities (another important point Guzmán makes in her discussions) and mine align most with my chosen candidates.
Ultimately, we’re electing folks to public service. In order to best serve the public, they must understand their constituents. Understanding starts with curiosity. They must work to ensure that every human being is seen.