Voting Is Behind Us…..Or Is It?
The elections are behind us, and I’ll be honest – I won’t miss the ads on TV or the social media posts. After all, no matter what my position on any issue, even my most intelligent comment isn’t going to change someone else’s viewpoint. The truth, however, is that we’re all still voting. In fact, we all vote nearly every day, whether we realize it or not. How, you ask?
Money. First of all, let me tell you that money is not the green pieces of paper in your wallet. It’s not your plastic cards, your coins, or even the number you see in your checking or savings account. At the end of the day, money is simply a representation of something much, much more important. Money is simply a representation of how we exchange value. Let me explain.
The Value of Money
How we spend the money we earn tells others what we value. This weekend, I expressed a good amount of value for cute holidays clothes for my kids. I believe that how we dress, speak, and carry ourselves tells others the value we place on our own self-worth. I’ll spare no expense to ensure my family has what they need, both physically and emotionally, to put their best foot forward every day.
On the other hand, I don’t exchange my hard-earned money for trinkets. I’m a minimalist in my home, and don’t like extra “stuff” lying around. What I spend money on will tell you what I value, as it does for everyone. Some people value their health, others the latest technology, others value cigarettes. While we can all impart our opinions on what we think a person should value – that is an entirely personal decision. Regardless of what we choose to exchange our money for – we’re voting for what’s important to us with every transaction.
Money and Your Health
As a health professional, it’s evident to me on a daily basis in a way that affects our country’s health, that voting can get a little complicated. What if we checked a box on a ballot indicating that we want the government to pay for more healthcare, but simultaneously complain that our taxes go up? What if we value fundraisers that support the race for a cure, but buy products or pay for services that are known to cause cancer? Want to find a cure for breast cancer, yet spend money on mammograms (direct breast radiation exposure) and pink-ribbon foods using ingredients (artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives) that are known to cause cancer? Yikes. As unintentional as that may have been, you still voted. Did you check the wrong box?
Do You Vote Locally?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer us endless opportunities to “vote.” But perhaps this year, you vote for small, local business and shop instead, on Small Business Saturday. Yeah, it takes more effort and typically requires you to change out of your pajamas and get off the couch – but exchanging your financial resources to support your neighbors is a great way to vote. Do you find yourself disappointed when the shop around the corner closes it’s doors? Reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies, “You’ve Got Mail.” In the movie, Meg Ryan plays the owner of a small bookstore in New York City, whose business is put in danger by the new big box store being opened up just down the road. I don’t know of anyone who’s cheering for the big box store in the movie – yet in real life, we often unintentionally give our resources to these big companies, causing our friends and neighbors with boutique-style, passion-filled stores and offices to struggle.
Your Vote is Your Philosophy
“As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a [philosophy]. Your only choice is whether you define your [philosophy] by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation—or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel [philosophy] and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown.” ~Ayn Rand
Most of society operates with the “junk heap” mentality. It’s not intentional – we just haven’t been made aware of the fact that’s how we’ve been making decisions or casting our vote. You can’t confidently vote your beliefs if you haven’t seen the big picture. I encourage all of you to dig deeper, create for yourself a disciplined process of thought and logical deliberation. And then, go out and “vote” those holiday sales in a way that’s congruent with what you stand for.