From Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem to the study of the effects of fiscal policy, it is impossible to study Economics without encountering the political. And so, as our country approaches another election, I find myself, as an economist and as a human being, becoming very aware of the decisions that are being made this week.
It seems like only yesterday that I took my daughter to an election headquarters so that she could be there when history happened , when our country elected its first woman president. As we all know, that is not exactly what happened . In response, I began to think ahead to this week, to the next election, when we would have an opportunity to speak up once again. And so, as our country prepares to vote tomorrow (or has already voted,) I want to leave my readers with some thoughts about the voting process, thoughts not designed to convince you to vote for any particular candidate (for me, at least, there are too many races to keep track of,) but thoughts that I think will help us all remember what our country is truly about, and what an amazing process we participate in, a process known as “democracy.”
Before you pull that lever or touch that screen, I encourage you to ask yourselves these questions.
Who is it that you truly are, at your very core? What is the spark of divine in you that permeates every cell of your being, like water soaks a sponge?
What is it like to be something unique in the universe, a piece of creation that can look back on the rest of that creation and admire the creator? What is it like to see the infinite stars in the sky or a beautiful sunset, or the smile of a baby? What is it like to taste cool water on a hot day? What is it like to smell flowers given to you by a lover? What is it like to hear Beethoven’s ninth symphony? What is it like to feel the hand of a lifelong companion in yours?
What would you say in a conversation with the brave men who fought to bring to birth our country, or with the women who were the strong support system that made their efforts possible? What would you say to Paul Revere, to Sybil Ludington , to Martin Luther King moments before he was murdered or to Abraham Lincoln, as he stood amid rotting flesh and spoke of “four score and seven years ?” What would you say to the soldiers who returned home from Europe, unable to un-see or un-smell the gas chambers they encountered on their way to liberate concentration camps? What would you say to the freedom riders who risked and gave their lives so that our fellow citizens could vote? What would you bring to the conversation about what our country is and can be?
What kind of world do you want to leave your children, your grandchildren, and the children you pass on the street everyday on your way to live out your own life? When you are gone from this world for a few seconds or a few centuries, what do you want to be your legacy for being here?
What do you want written on your tomb stone?
Most of all, I encourage my reads to make sure that they participate in this election. May we show the world that we are the good people that I know we are.