Maybe it’s my OCD, but I believe in the possibility of a perfect system: one where basic needs are met for everyone, opportunities are open for people to pursue their talents, and things run both efficiently and in harmony with the world around us. I don’t know if I believe in the probability of any of those things, but I do believe they’re possible. Above all else, I believe that the only way a truly happy world can exist is if people choose it. I believe in Democracy.

Deep down we all share the same fear: Fascism. Democrats fear a Fascist Right Wing, running roughshod over the disenfranchised with pro-corporate legislation and dictated morality. Republicans fear a Fascist Left Wing, stripping them of all rights to improve their lot with redistribution of wealth and regulations, dictating their morality. Maybe it’s that fear that drives us to extremes in the first place, the idea that we can be safe if we beat the other guy to it and become the ones in charge; the idea that we would be benevolent dictators. It strikes me that if we acknowledged our own control-freak impulses we might be able to stop overstepping; we might be able to approach growth and compromise more rationally.

Essentially, I think we all need to calm the eff down and figure out what we agree on, then talk strategy like people who are on the same team.

Over the years my ideas have evolved about what specific changes would have to take place to form that ideal world I fantasize about. And that’s the rub: time and experience will inform your opinions (if you let them), therefore you can never trust yourself to be completely right. There’s always more to be learned, other perspectives to consider, consequences you couldn’t foresee… All you can really do is keep testing concepts in pursuit of a better system, and adapt your approach as new information presents itself.

So, I have political opinions, but I don’t believe in imposing them on others, be it through force or through manipulation. I won’t ask you to put your faith in my reasoning or values, and I won’t put forward personal recommendations telling you who or what to vote for. I will, however, tell you how to vote.

Contemplate the world as it is and as it could be, and what steps toward it are reasonable considering where we’re at. Read the language of all the measures and propositions, consider the interests of the people who endorsed and funded them and whether you share their goals. Ignore party lines and rhetoric and fear mongering; don’t put your trust in anyone else to do the research for you. Choose your own candidates, honor your own priorities. Think.

The beautiful potential of Democracy is that an informed public, voting with their eyes wide open, can move mountains where they truly need to be moved for the collective benefit. The awful danger of Democracy is that a manipulated and misled public can be swayed to vote against their own interests through fear and fervor.

Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.