Happy Election Day: Me v. We

November 6, 2012 will go down in my mental books, first and foremost, as an extraordinary day.

As a loosely-affiliated Democrat (thinking of going Independent), Romney could have won and I would thought of today as no less extraordinary.

Please, hear me out.

Over 160 million American citizens cast a ballot today. Millions of people, all types of people, exercised a right first guaranteed to us hundreds of years ago.

Each voter traveled to a polling station. Some drove, some took a bus, some walked, some rode their motorcycles, some scooted. People everywhere waited in line. They ducked into a booth, some more makeshift than others. Billions of bubbles were filled in. Many a “Yo vote” sticker was stuck.

Millions of reasons lay behind the voters’ votes. Some Americans, hopefully not many, voted based on which candidate they found more attractive. Other taxpayers voted out of fear of having their yearly income cut… again. Some balloters’ votes were motivated by the color of the candidate’s skin. Some people voted for their candidate because he heralded from their home state. The right to choose/the right to life pulled suffragers to the polls.

Regardless of the Facebook shitstorm and overall atmosphere of “holy fuck” that is today, November 12, I love election day. I love election day for a reason wouldn’t automatically come to mind.

I love today because “me” transformed into “we.”  Today was all about Mwee.

Billions of people were united today; we were all Americans first today.

In “The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World,” the Dalai Lama describes how in the Tibetan language, the word for “I” and “me” is “nag,” and the word for “we” is “ngatso” or “many I’s.” Their words are closely related as ours are very distinct. It serves as a good example of the difference between Eastern and Western cultures in their perception of the relationship between the individual and the collective. We need to focus less on our differences, more on our similarities.

These are uncertain times.  The deficit.  The storm on the east.  We had higher temperatures in San Diego than ever this summer. They just keep getting hotter.   The political parties are more polarized than they have been in many decades.  Israel-Palestine.  Iran.  Not to mention, people are saying it’s two months to the day until the end of the world.  There’s a lot we could talk about here.

I think it’s safe to say people have more worries today.  I believe it’s important to support each other now more than ever.  My solution: be nicer to people. Do more good.

Finding purpose beyond yourself through helping others is one of the things that makes people happiest in life.  It’s proven.  Beyond that, I believe it makes a difference.  I know I’m only two weeks into this project, but from my research, I’m figuring out life is mostly about relationships. It’s about connecting to others. Focus on that more, happiness will ensue.

There are certain human universals, qualities we all share: we are all hard-wired to need the support of other people.

Don’t you think, in times like these, we need people even more? Doesn’t it just make sense?

I propose this: I propose everyone who reads this post does good deeds, for a week.

What do you think?

In terms of effort, there’s not a lot of commitment.

Buy the coffee for the person standing behind you at Starbucks. Take your old clothes to Goodwill. Smile at people all day, even though it’s super awkward and you have to force yourself to do it. Pay someone’s toll on a toll road. The deed should benefit a stranger, but you can slip some deeds in for people you know. I’m researching more ideas now, but are you willing to take part?

Secondly, I’d like to hear about your stories resulting from these acts. I want to know more about people’s experiences, generally; it gives me joy. I think these stories would give other people joy, too.

My hope is there will be a big response, and people will be willing to write about their experiences and send them to me. I would post them to the site.

Good deeds week would start next Monday, November 12th through the following Sunday, November 19th.

Hit a sister hit up.

4 thoughts on “Happy Election Day: Me v. We

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