[Opinion] Live with the Outcome of the Vote

Tomorrow in the United States, is election day.

There is, during local, state, and national elections, the usual appeals to get people to engage in phone calling for candidates, rallies, polling, and all the other “get out the vote” parts of an election campaign.

The appeals come from the idea that it is easy to convince people not to vote; thus, by getting in their face with constant appeals to participate in all aspects of the voting process (from planting a yard sign to actually voting) the candidates hope to ensure that people are persuaded to vote.

This is all well and good. But towards the end of an elections cycle, such appeals can rise to the level of farce.

What’s far more important is how candidates, and their supporters, live with the outcome of an election.

Candidates and supporters don’t need to be told how to get out the vote.

Candidates and supporters need to be told how to live with outcomes they might not like.

Or that they might have voted against.

This ability to deal with outcomes that are not voted for, without engaging in disruptive revolution, is a fixture of the United States electoral process, because of how the electoral process is designed via the Constitution: A candidate and their ideas may be popular, but if there isn’t enough support from populations in states with a high number of electoral votes, then the candidate loses.

Being a popular loser is something that past candidates have some experience with at the national level in the United States, and because of this two-tiered system, the electoral process has always been relatively free from the chicanery and corruption that sometimes rules in plurality, or parliamentary based systems.

The thing that drives the difficulty in living with the outcome is partially the media. We get the media system that we have built, and in the United States, it is a system based on short attention spans, emotional hijacking, and spreading of rumor as fact.

But we allowed that system to be built.

The other thing that increasingly drives anger, and dissatisfaction with electoral outcomes, is the fact that as the United States has become more fractured in its media consumption of facts, there has been the corresponding rise of tribal like behavior. This type of behavior, instigated by a click happy media structure, creates a perfect storm of disaffection and unrest, that goes beyond the outcomes of election days.

And it will go beyond Tuesday as well.

HIT Piece 11.03.2015

If you haven’t seen the film Election, directed by Alexander Payne and starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, go get it on Netflix and stream in right now.

[HIT Piece] 11.03.2015

The script, from the movie released in 1999, shows the results and feedback loop that power, strategy and the ruthless pursuit of position can have in electoral politics.

And all wrapped up in the context of a high school student government election in Omaha, Nebraska. The director, Alexander Payne has directed many other films and brings a European sensitivity to Midwestern American dramatic situations, people and aesthetics.

In light of the results of your local elections yesterday and in light of the current political gamesmanship going on in American electoral national politics, it’s worth looking at.

And all before the era of social media, virality, the commonality of cell phones, and even the ubiquity of the Internet.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

HIT Piece 11.04.2014

Today is Election Day in the United States.


In multiple elections, both large and small, the political fates of these amorphous entities that we have socially constructed—called parties, ironically enough—will be either moved forward…or stopped warm.

The business of navigating the political system in this country—or any other—is not based on promoting peace.

Rather, the business of politics seems to revolve on the front-end, around division and making disconnection. And on the back-end, the business of politics seems to revolve around collaboration and accommodation for those whose interests really matter.

It’s enough to make the people who vote, the “electorate” if you will—who deserve to have their faith rewarded and deserve to continue to believe in the best of people involved in the business of politics—become cynical and tire of the entire process.

And many have.

The progressive, peace building thing to write would be “Get out and vote. It’s your civic duty.” The regressive, disconnecting thing to write would be “Don’t vote. None of this matters. Stay at home.”

Well…what are you going to do?

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/