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Printed from HarfordChabad.org

Don't Vote For Him!

Thursday, 1 November, 2012 - 8:51 am

This time of year should be very uplifting and empowering. After all, we now have the opportunity to elect our representatives, and choose the laws and taxes that we see fit and reject the ones we think are wrong. Even though our choice may not be the winning measure or person, nevertheless, we can participate in a society where our vote does count. Democracy.

As glorious as our right to vote is, procuring our vote has become quite another story. For the month(s) leading up to the election we are barraged with one negative campaign after another. By the time we reach the election, I feel fully informed as to why each candidate is unworthy of the seat.

To be sure, this is not a new phenomenon. It has been said that negative campaigning is "as American as Mississippi mud." So, why does it bother me so much?

Well, for one thing, I know that this coming election, either a mudslinging campaigner who gets votes by emphasizing the degenerate nature of his opponent will be elected. Or possibly worse. The aforementioned fellow with the degenerate nature will be elected.

But there is more.

Words are important and profound tools. Words don't just convey ideas; they inspire and create ideas. Through words we can come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of others and the world around us. Or exactly the opposite.

According to Chassidic philosophy, the faculty of speech derives from the Sefirah (divine attribute) of Malchut, the 10th and final sefirah. It was through this divine power that all of existence came about. As we read in the first chapter of Genesis, G-d spoke our world into being. This divine "speech" is an expression of G-d's attribute of Malchut.

The literal translation of Malchut is "Sovreignty". In other words, Malchut is about leadership. Through their words, leaders create a reality. They reveal a new potential within the individual and within society. Through their dialogue and directives policy is formed, laws are legislated and a new course emerges.

It seems that today's leaders lack this "Malchut" component. In fact, many of them seem to have turned the divine gift of leadership-through-speech on its head. Instead of using the power of the word to reveal potentials and emphasize strengths, words are used, instead, to expose flaws and emphasize weaknesses. Instead of inspiring our imagination, they dampen our spirits.

So, what can we do now? I do not have a solution for elevating the campaigns or changing the tides of our even polarizing country. But my words can have a profound impact on one individual: Me. He remains the one over whom I have full control. As a friend of mine once illustrated, when you point one finger at someone else, you are pointing three fingers back at yourself!

If I remember that my words create a reality in the people around me, I will take them much more seriously. These words carry a heavy responsibility. I can make someone's day, or take someone's day.

In this election season, when we are called upon to be discerning to choose the right person, we could equally take the lesson to choose our words carefully to create a better world.

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