How do you know if someone represents you or your issues? That’s the sort of question citizens face every time they vote. We’re trying to make a decision based on a combination of factors of person, party, platform and policy proposals. Sometimes a candidate might get support from celebs or other public figures to help attract voters.
In some cases, you hear certain words used to criticize that support: sellout, hypocrite, traitor, opportunist. The 2020 Presidential election season was no different. A few unexpected folks came out publicly in support of their candidate. While the answer to the question of who people vote for isn’t always logical or scientific, there’re those who probably have some strong feelings.
Well, on the days after we vote we should at least be asking ourselves, “Where is history, civics and culture gonna take us as the U.S.A. – United States of America?” Think about what happens when a student attends graduation, whether from middle school, high school or college. As they walk on that stage to receive the diploma, there is a collective consensus around them going to the next level. Family members gather to support the graduate and to celebrate what life has in-store for them going forward.
Similarly, after we vote we should want to have a collective consensus about the ideals that can take us to the next level as a nation. This consensus, if viewed as the United Stage of America (USA), is one way to appreciate why the See America In Color (SAIC) social-edge campaign/platform believes civics education is the next social frontier in America. It’s why we deliver content for ‘smart curriculum and smart programming’. If you quiz people to choose between “dumb, dumber, smart or smart-arse” they’d likely want to have ‘smarts’ in civics the way biz/tech leaders do with gadgets and students do with academics.
Throughout America’s history we’ve seen evolution and revolution. We’ve also seen people overcome struggles, hardships and pain. In the 80s and 90s we had the period of crack cocaine addiction. In the 90s and early 2000s we dealt with opioid addiction. Over the years when our national identity or personal security was at stake, we responded with a “war on poverty” or “war on drugs” or “war on terror.” These days it seems we’re dealing with a growing “addiction to disinformation” that is consumed as hope. It’s as if we need a “War on D.A.H. – Disinformation as Hope.” So, to watch out for this rising danger of WMDs (weapons of mass disinformation) we need to go from:
1. Talking points to takeoff points – because culture needs context
You often hear ‘talking points’ used to explain support for a political candidate. The problem is the message can get missed or muffled especially when used out of context. As an example, in the context of living with passion, some have heard the phrase “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Without the proper context, someone could hear that and believe “love money to live fully.” But with context, it really means “when you love what you do, money/reward will flow through you.” In the same way, culture needs history to provide context to make sure that the message doesn’t get missed or muffled.
2. Voter education to civics education – because civics brings content
The Covid-19 pandemic threw the campaign season into a frustrating loop. There was confusion about absentee ballots versus vote-by-mail. There was concern among seniors about voting in person or working the polls. As such, there was even greater need for voter education through media and printed materials. Well after we vote, we should embrace the need for civics education to help get us past the ‘isms and schisms’, biases and prejudices, divisions and suppressions to meet and conquer that next frontier.
3. Transaction to transformation – because citizens get conscious
In watching the campaign ads, it can sometimes feel like the process is more of a political transaction. The candidate asks for our vote in exchange for promises to make certain options/services available to the public. There’s often cynicism about the political process because voters feel some candidates forget about the people once they’re in office. With civics education, the process can be transformational as citizens get conscious about the ‘ins & outs’ of who’s serving the people and who’s serving their pockets.
4. Candidate endorsement to civic empowerment – because better means change
Over the summer, pro athletes and other public figures showed us what can happen when citizens become conscious. There were civic engagement projects that weren’t focused on candidate endorsement. No matter which campaign ad was most convincing for folks, after we vote we can reach new heights with civic empowerment in the next frontier because better means change, whether personally, professionally or socially.
So after we vote, will we see a nation as good as its promise or as bad as its worst instincts? That’s a question we might ponder in the weeks and months ahead. These days we see slogans like “Stop Hate! or End Racism!” Maybe one day we can celebrate civics education as the United Stage of America in a National Civics Day. But in the meantime, from Miami to Minnesota, let’s meet the future with the words of President Lincoln, by living-out the “better angels” of our nature.
You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.
Tracks: John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up Everybody – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc
Will Smith – Miami – https://youtu.be/IwBS6QGsH_4