Some people I respect are agonizing over their Presidential vote. Others are voting third-party, or not at all. Speaking only for myself, my choice wasn't made lightly: I'll be voting to re-elect a President whose Administration I've often criticized over the last four years. And yet, despite my concerns, I'll be casting that vote without despair.
Why not? Most Americans agree on a broad range of issues, according to polls. Across party lines and "left/right" boundaries, clear majorities oppose cutting Social Security or Medicare to balance the budget. They want to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. They want government to invest in restoring our economy. And they want Wall Street held accountable.
Neither candidate is fighting unequivocally for these majority positions. But like the old cliché says: Despair is not an option.
Which isn't to say it's not tempting. What creates despair? According to the informative (if sadistic) dog experiments of Martin Seligman, the culprit is "learned helplessness." Some of us entered this election season with the same emotions Seligman's dogs must have felt as they were led to their electrified cubicles, and with a similar analysis of our situation: Nothing I do matters.
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