Conscious Confusion: Navigating the Political Landscape

By Phil Parker

We live in a country that gives each of us the freedom of choice. How we exercise this freedom in choosing our elective officials is the basis for this article.

As adults, almost everything we do is based on both the conscious and subconscious values we created throughout our lives and learned to trust. Our core values are held in our subconscious mind. They become the platform we access to determine how we judge the world around us and how we act in any given situation. What we value is also how we choose our elected officials. Of course, there are times when we randomly listen to and often act on the opinions of others.

When it comes to our current political landscape, we are living in a world of political chaos. Too many of our elected officials have lost their way. A consciousness of confusion has been created. It’s no wonder it’s challenging to hold onto one’s values in light of so much uncertainty. All of us are influenced by TV, social media, the press, and other stimuli which, although we may not understand, make it difficult to know who and what to believe.

More likely than not, we are inclined to act on what we see, hear, or read. The new norm, aka “fake news,” is now impacting our everyday lives. Our decisions are further influenced by the internet, special interest groups, family, and friends. After constantly being inundated, sifting through, and listening to all of the above, how then do we hold true to our values and act judiciously in electing our public officials?

Our voting habits are generally based on our own experiences, our emotions, and our familiarity with the candidates. If you’re pro-life you’re likely to vote for the candidate that represents that value. Likewise, if you’re pro-choice the opposite would be true. Our values are imbedded in our subconscious and surface when called upon. Because we live with the freedom of individual choice, we get to vote for those candidates based on our personal beliefs and experiences. It’s an ongoing struggle and tug of war between what is our truth and influences that are continuously bombarding us.

We all want to make choices based solely on what we believe to be true. Emotions and logic create uncertainty because our emotions don’t always align with our truth. Whether consciously or unconsciously, it appears we have politically lost our way.

We must ask ourselves if our elected officials are for “we the people” or “we the government.” So many of our elected officials stand firm on their needs with less regard for the needs of the masses. There is little or no compromise between parties or any across-the-aisle cooperation. Today’s political landscape makes it virtually impossible to discern the truth or persuade our elected officials to listen to and vote for what we the electorate want.

Bottom line: The responsibility of today’s political climate falls on us. It is fair to blame our elected officials for their own biases and incompetence since voters put them into office. If one’s values are not congruent with those of our elected officials, it is our civic responsibility to insure they are not re-elected.

Voting is both a responsibility and a privilege. We’d like to believe that our elected officials act and legislate for the good of the voters who put them in office. Rather, it appears they are motivated by their own selfish interests, lobbyists, or political ambitions.

It takes an unwavering commitment to hold true to your values. It takes responsibility to overcome indifference. The next time you vote for the candidate of your choosing, it’s critical that your core values and beliefs remain in alignment with who you are. Ask yourself how strongly that individual shares your values and re-enforces your belief system. Political habit or bias is no excuse for being irresponsible. Every vote you cast is a reflection of the values you refuse to compromise.

As long as you allow outside influences to control your voting decisions you will be subject to confusion and uncertainty. Only when you are steadfast in your decision making and hold true to your core values, will you have peace of mind of knowing you fulfilled your civic and political responsibility.

Phil Parker, a former CEO and 35-year veteran of Corporate America has been hired, fired, acquired, merged, purged, downsized, and rightsized but NEVER capsized. As a speaker, author, and world-class photographer, he entertains, enlightens, educates, and empowers his audiences to uncover their potential and discover the life they deserve.