Election Etiquette

Today begins early voting for the party primaries. To me it seems like this day has been a long time coming. Each election cycle, candidates begin earlier and earlier with this campaign season, even beginning prior to officially turning in their paperwork. I expect this on the national level. It takes an excessive amount of time to campaign across an entire nation. I’m more surprised when I see this taking place on the local level. Additionally, some forums turn into mud slinging instead of informational sessions, which benefits no one.

I currently serve on our local city council. I’ve been personally attacked. I’ve witnessed personal attacks on others. It needs to stop. Therefore, today’s post is all about election etiquette.

I’m not sure when we first entertained the notion that everyone we encounter is dying to know our position. Let me be the first to say, they’re not. Some of the people I respect the absolute most rarely volunteer information regarding politics. That is not at all implying they’re uninformed or that they don’t care. They volunteer. They donate. They seek to become informed. When asked, they’ll happily state who they support and why. However, at the end of the day, the also understand that some people dig their own graves. By being overly forceful in supporting someone, it is often a turnoff of that candidate to others who may still be in the decision-making phase.

If you feel the need to strongly support a candidate, make sure that you don’t dominate the conversation with only your candidate’s information. Be willing to listen. Be willing to learn. You may very likely stick to the person you were initially supporting. However, you may also learn why someone else doesn’t. When we ask for change simply for the sake of change, you may get what you ask for. By listening, you’re opening up the conversation to dialogue as opposed to a monologue.

This next bit is important to state. Don’t wear candidate-specific items while voting. You will likely be asked to leave if you wear anything supporting a particular candidate to the polls. Make sure you leave the campaigning at home or at least outside of the specified area during early voting and on election day.

Most of all, seek to be an informed voter, and don’t feel pressured to vote a particular way. Listen not only to what people say but how they say it.

There are no perfect candidates. None. However, there are people you will find who are willing to listen and willing to prioritize items that are of utmost importance to you.

If you are a candidate during this election cycle, I wish you luck and peace. Also, know that there are many other ways of contributing aside from obtaining an elected position. If you do not win, please consider this.

Thank y’all for your time!

 

What Etiquette Is About

This quote needs very little follow up, but I always tell my students during cotillion that etiquette is not about acting superior to anyone else. Your manners will help you go further because of how you make people feel. Be kind to everyone. People remember how you make them feel. Everyone has value.

 

What We Lose With Participation Trophies

While the title of this post may not seem to be strictly about etiquette, it is my belief that those with good etiquette know far more than just about utensils and stemware. They know about grace. They know about kindness. They know about humility. Each of the preceding qualities are ones I feel we are losing with the participation trophy mentality.

People of all ages need to know how to win gracefully and lose gracefully. In an “everything goes” society, it’s important to remember that not everything does. It is perfectly okay that we excel in some areas and not in others. It’s okay that we are not the best in everything we do. With participation trophies, we often feed a false sense of security and belief that everything one touches turns to gold. We are losing drive. We are losing desire. We are losing passion.

What are we teaching our kids when they still win even if they didn’t put forth any effort aside from showing up? Sheltering them from the realities of life does much greater harm than any good that may come from it.

The kids who are never lost anything don’t know how to respond with grace when they are not invited to a party.

Their identity lies in being included, and they don’t know how to react when they are not treated the same as every other person.

Now, please don’t mistake me. I will never, ever advocate for anyone being left out. What I’m saying is that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. If we fail to identify those weaknesses, how do we expect to work on the weaknesses and to grow from them? Emotionally, we are stunting ourselves. Instead of seeing a lack of invitation as a personal attack, we need to know how to move from it.

Our differences are beautiful. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities because of the uniqueness you’ll find there. They embraces their culture and the people who make up said culture instead of trying to be the same. Maybe your gift is encouraging others. If everyone expects to win, when will your gift be used?

Embracing the fear of failure and being willing to try anyway is something else I’m afraid we’re losing in the participation trophy world.

This year I wish you a lot of grace and happiness. I hope you’re willing to try. I hope you’re willing to fail. I hope you’re willing to grow.

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I’ve written briefly on the 12 Days of Christmas in the past here in regards to how long you may leave Christmas decorations up. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people insist they must be taken down before New Year’s Day, as the Christmas season extends from December 25th through January 5th, concluding  Janary 6th with Epiphany. Clearly New Year’s Day is in the middle of the 12 Days of Christmas.

I’ve also written that it is perfectly acceptable to send Christmas cards through the end of the 12 days.

However, today I want to briefly talk on the importance of the 12 days. As a Christian, Christmas has much more than a secular meaning to me. During the 12 Days of Christmas, we remember the birth of Jesus, the killing of innocent children by King Herod, the importance of John the Apostle, among many other vital parts of our Christian faith.

Advent, the time beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas, prepares our hearts and minds for Christmas. The anticipation adds a specialness you can’t find in a store. I also feel is helps keep my family grounded and our eyes on the cross.

Keep in mind, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – Geaorge Santayana