I Wonder If...

Yesterday I exercised my constitutional right to cast a vote in an election.  It's a right that I don't take lightly.  Too many people have fought for me to have this right that I take it seriously.  I wish others did as well.  In South Carolina, there was only a 27% voter turn out for the Republican primary.  I know that more than 27% of the state is listed as a Republican voter, so this number is downright shameful.  After I voted, I started thinking about the process of making a decision for a candidate.

Over the past few weeks, my facebook wall has been inundated by political chatter - some valued and some not.  I've heard commentary on the radio and read articles online along with every comment that was made.

The decision of who to vote for is highly personal, but I wonder if somewhere along the way we, as a nation, have forgotten how to make decisions.  Have we forgotten the logical steps to informed decisions?

Over the past 12 years of my teaching career, I've watched parent conferences shift from holding children accountable for poor decision making to holding the teacher accountable.  Parents are more concerned about how their child is "feeling" instead of what the child is doing.  And these same situations spill over into the political arena as well.

We have created a society of people who base their decisions on how they feel.  Emotions are beginning to trump logic and critical thinking.  I've heard way too many times that grades will affect my child's self-esteem, or not being a part of something will affect their confidence.  What happened to building a healthy self-esteem or confidence because of decisions that we make.  I feel good because I did something well, not because it was given to me.  A healthy self-esteem is a natural by-product of responsible and logical decision making.

I wonder if this "emotional" pendulum is being contributed to by teachers and parents. When I taught 5th grade, I tried to impress upon my students that you cannot take someone else's word when you are making decisions.  When faced with choices, we should all put in our due diligence and find out who the candidates are and what their stance is on our non-negotiable issues.  Those are different for everyone.  I hope that out of everything I've taught, my students remember this.  But I wonder if what we are required to teach leaves some of this informed decision making out of the curriculum.  Are we raising a generation of students who will base every decision on their emotions?  If so, I'm terrified.  Terrified because my emotions have been wrong - DEAD WRONG - before.  My feelings have been hurt and I've been devastated when there was nothing wrong.  I was the one at fault.  I've been scared when there was nothing to be scared of.  If I based my decisions on my emotions, I think I would be in a heap of trouble.  I would have married the wrong guy, gone into the wrong profession.

I wonder if this year's presidential show down will be the next arena where most people make decisions based on emotions?

These days, if you put a heart wrenching photograph of someone in need or play a powerful ballad (Enrique Iglesisas "Hero" comes to mind) you all of a sudden have a huge following because of the "feelings" that were created in people.

I wonder if the pendulum will continue to swing in the way of emotional decision making or if it will swing back in the direction of logical reasoning.  I hope that in this election, instead of voting for a candidate because of your feelings, that you  make an informed decision based on research and logical reasoning.