As we citizens consider those fellow citizens whom we want to represent us in all levels of governance, it is an important opportunity to move deeper than our political views to evaluate our values. 

 

What influences our values?  Religious teachings?  Family and neighbors?  Facebook memes?  Selective research to debunk or confirm assumptions?  All of the these?

 

If we all could clarify our core values, I think it would be these three that we most likely share:  empathy, integrity, and moral courage.

 

For me, empathy must stretch beyond my immediate kinship groups and extend to the “other.”  Others Matter.

 

Integrity requires me to research conflicting ideas and words, with an open mind of one who is seeking truth.  Truth Matters.

 

Moral courage requires me to speak and act on truth, compelled by empathy.  Words and Actions Matter.

 

Who we vote for matters.   Which candidates on our ballot will reflect and act on our three common (hopefully) values?   Who lives a life of empathy for the “other”?  Who lives a life of seeking truth and striving for integrity?  Who has the moral courage to speak and vote for structures that will provide parameters not barriers?   Who will speak and vote for accessible health care, living wages, and innovative jobs and education for the needy and the next generation?   Who will speak and vote for protection of the environment in this turbulent climate uncertainty?  Who will speak and vote for the diversity of us that strengthens our resiliency to chaos? 

 

These are the questions that are guiding my voting decisions, and I think they are more meaningful that any stated positions a candidate provides.   We’ve been hearing the same words representing polarized viewpoints: “It is not what they say, it is what they do.”    Which candidate exemplifies the core values of our diverse communities and can speak with integrity and act with the courage required of empathy?    Whoever we vote for needs to speak and act on (and be held accountable to) our common core values.  We need to reunite, not further divide after this election. 

Rebecca Cummins,

Montgomery Center

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