By: Joan E. Battey

Everyone is urged to "Get Out The Vote." Getting Out The Vote pales when compared to the crucial need to Vote Intelligently. Voting Intelligently is perhaps the top priority now, more important than ever before in our history. The almost lightning speed overload of electronic devices is replacing much of earlier thoughtful attention to information and contacts in both life and elections everywhere. It encourages quick skimming, and thus also, short attention spans. It promotes even quicker acceptance of whatever was last noticed in on-line exchanges, and mostly usual news and views sites. It's also subject to time constraints imposed by burgeoning commitments of time and effort -- voluntary or mandatory. .

The changing technology works against intelligent voting, in an election cycle filled with urgent need for careful and thoughtful assessment of issues and candidates. The technology overload began in between election cycles, creating the impression that fast fingers, address lists, and creative quick responses equated to intelligent choices of all kinds. It created the impression that large numbers of contacts and information sources, coupled with fast moving fingers, makes today's voters, and thinkers, the best-informed and smartest ever.

Wrong, WRONG, WRONG!! In most of today's lives, interactions and focus of attention, too many have lost the long- shared injunction from Proverbs: "With all thy getting, get understanding." Most societal focus today is focused on the "getting." The "understanding" part was one of the earliest casualties in the modern-day race for the most of everything that comes into view. It began with wish lists, and finding "kindred spirits" if they could be found. It morphed far too often into agendas of those with more elaborate wish lists, and soon into huge organized agendas. Those agendas may be varied in focus, but all break down into the common denominator they all share. The GETTING part!

How often have many of us said: "As soon as ...thus-and-so is over, THEN I'll have time to ... (whatever is on lists of postponed things). We have time to be mesmerized by hand-held devices and the diversions they provide, far more than any real needs, information and support. We devote even more time to follow and support growing numbers of sports teams, and stars, whether good or lacking admirable behaviors and aspirations. We devote countless hours also to encouraging future sports stars to start the climb to elusive fame, and more elusive long-range financial security.

Meanwhile, we're not noticing the growing numbers of groups and people chasing those same and other elusive goals of long-range fame and financial rewards. Meanwhile, we're not seeing the growing numbers of groups and individuals simultaneously undermining the cohesion and safety of all that we hold dear. Have we over-confidently assumed that "our" world would never change? We're working to groom multitudes of potential stars of entertainment, financial kingpins, and power positions of all kinds. Again, have we over-confidently assumed that "our" world would never change? That all our children would be achievers and leaders and kings of all hills?

We have time to be in walks, runs, rides, and collection competitions raising money for growing numbers of charities and groups, with ever-increasing promises of elusive achievements for all of us and mankind in general. Meanwhile, others are quietly supporting growing numbers of causes out of the limelight, and thus receiving insufficient support for their one-on-one help for many in need. Earlier generations shared folksy explanations of things turning out to be diversions of little value. "Rushing here, rushing there, never getting anywhere" was a warning voiced by many grandparents and great-grandparents.

Maybe we should revisit another old injunction dating back to earliest times of civilization. "Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God." Regardless of time and citations of older and simpler times and wisdom, that really did offer a much better approach to daily life than what we are seeing everywhere today in a cacophony of demands for primary attention overriding all other voices looking to gain top slot in daily ratings and polls and political agendas.

Instead of ceding much more of the ground that is left, to government, agenda groups, and fast-talking modern-day traveling con artists, maybe we should regroup, reconnoiter, and resurrect the customs, beliefs, and road maps of better days. Maybe we should get back on track using our wits and our talents, instead of relying on technical GPS systems of all kinds -- many turning out to be poorly programmed and unreliable, yet still topping the sales charts. Are we in such a rush to tweet, twitter, and fritter away what could be the last days of our republic or us, that we have no time left to use our own internal GPS systems to put us back on track, instead over the edge of multitudes of cliffs waiting for us, not too far ahead of our presently programmed route?

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Joan E. Battey is a freelance political writer from Apalachin, NY. Her love of logical dot connecting and writing developed over many years of  typesetting and proof reading in small daily newspapers; ad agency and manufacturing office secretarial work, and volunteer work in libraries, animal welfare, political campaigns, and networks of people keeping abreast of the steady "reforms" in education. She is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Joan E. Battey can be reached at:

Published in the October 24, 2012 issue of  Ether Zone.
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