It seems common place these days to sum up all of a person's values, beliefs, and friendship potential based solely on who they voted for. This trend serves only to divide us further, and to stop all constructive debate before it starts. What a poor measure of a man his ballot is.
What a Ballot Does and Does Not Say
A ballot does make some statements about a person. I am not arguing that they are meaningless. However, what they reveal has many limitations and only makes statements about how the voter felt at the time they completed their ballot.
A few things we can generally infer about a voter from their ballot:
- They care enough to register and vote.
- What political party they voted for during this particular election.
- Who they voted for.
A few things we cannot infer about a voter from their ballot:
- Why they voted the way they did.
- If they support 100% of all beliefs and values help by the candidate they selected.
- If they are an informed voter who researched all their options thoroughly.
- If they were voting for what appeared to be the lesser of two evils, from their perspective.
- If they were considering not voting at all or voting for a third party, because they disapprove of both major parties and government corruption in general.
There is no law that says a ballot will reflect the voter's most deeply held beliefs for all time.
Open Communication is Dying in Our Society
The main point of this post is tolerance. Tolerance of views you disagree with. When I say tolerance, I don't mean letting those you disagree with walk freely without fear of imprisonment. I mean still considering them human beings worthy of: conversation, hearing their perspective, not being called names and labeled, and still containing friendship potential. If you really what to change the world you need to do more than fill in a bubble on a ballot and shun all those who selected the other bubble. Real world change will happen when we work hard to maintain friendships with those we disagree with. If they are really so far off the mark, they need you to show them the error of their ways with gentleness and respect. Sometimes this means being friends for a very long time while still disagreeing. We do not have to agree and endorse all views held by those we care for.