“Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Your mission, Jim, should you choose to accept it…”

Read. Listen. Think. Vote. That’s what I think every voter should do in every election. By now you probably think you’ve read, heard, and seen enough–and you may be right–but I have one small mission for you today.

Find someone who disagrees with you politically and listen to them. Give them a chance to tell you why they are voting the way they are. Ask good questions, not “gotcha” questions, but questions that peel away the layers. Don’t get confrontational, but try to really understand why they feel the way they do. Why do they feel that one party or the other represents their views, and why do they feel that that party’s standard bearer represents the party or the country as a whole? Don’t get agitated, don’t raise your voice. Listen and ask. Repeat as necessary until you understand.

What I have found when I have done this is that we are often in agreement on the problems but disagree on the solutions and who is the best person to implement them. Yeah, sometimes the other person is willfully ignorant and even cold, hard, scientific truths are beyond them, but most people are capable of intelligent and polite discussion, if given the opportunity.

I don’t expect them to change your mind or you to change theirs. My hope is that you both realize that underneath it all, we are really on the same side. We want what’s best for ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, our states, our country, and our world. We may disagree on some of what that is, but I don’t think anyone running for office is intentionally evil. There’s plenty of selfishness and selfcenteredness among our politicians, and plenty of myopia when it comes to specific issues.

We shouldn’t be enemies now, and we shouldn’t stay enemies after the election. Our world has serious problems that need cooperation if we are going to solve them.

If you haven’t voted already, make sure you know where to go tomorrow, and do your research before you go to the polls. If you have voted, pop some popcorn and watch the show.

Finally…

My best campaign donation.

My best campaign donation.

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