Letter to the Editor: Thinking Clearly about Voting Choices

In a democracy, especially during an election year, we need to think clearly about the wide-reaching impact of our beliefs. After all, ideas foster actions, and actions have consequences. 

We appear to hold opinions, take positions and move to action without considering why or what the consequences might be. We seem to hold illogical, diametrically opposed, often self-defeating positions on any number of issues. For example:

• We love our smartphones. We want the latest features. We want the appearance of a “free” phone by ignoring the monthly fees that hide their true cost. And we decry the loss of jobs due to outsourced manufacturing to the lowest-cost producer. And we blame first Southern states, then Japan, now China for stealing American jobs.

• We all believe in personal liberties. Some believe this includes the right to not wear a mask during a global pandemic. Some of these same people, however, do not believe that a woman has a right to choose, claiming this is tantamount to murder. They do not see that spreading a deadly virus through refusing to wear a mask is tantamount to murder and has contributed to more than 6 million deaths globally, including 900,000 in the United States.

• The majority of Americans believe that justice is or should be blind. Yet again and again, Black men are brutally murdered through the use of excessive force (being shot 13 times or being shot while fleeing a nonthreatening traffic stop). 

Please don’t politicize my examples above. I could offer examples of both the left’s and the right’s shallow, uninformed, illogical and self-serving thinking. As you contemplate your vote, please examine verified facts, manage your unthinking biases, explore competing ideas and project out the long-term consequences of the actions that flow from your voting decisions.

In a democracy, you get what you voted into office. If problems persist, look to the quality and rigor of the thinking that went into your voting choices. 

Michael Harper

Ellison Bay, Wisconsin