Would You Have Lunch With This Guy*?
by C.A. Matthews
*(The word "guy" here is being used in a Midwestern dialect way of indicating a neutral gender. It applies to all genders, as in the typical parent's statement: "What are you guys doing in there? Starting a world war?" "They/their/theirs" are also being used to indicate a singular pronoun in this article in a non-gender specific manner.)
Some voters agonize over their choices on the ballot. Others simply allow others to do all the thinking and choosing for them. Most lie somewhere in between, and this time out the agonizing seems to have edged out the other mindless method. This is a good and healthy move in the right direction, in my opinion. I'll explain why.
As many comedians have said in recent times: "Americans are routinely given the choice between Shit Sandwich #1 and Shit Sandwich #2 in their elections. Which one do you really wanna eat?"
Ugh. I wouldn't want to eat any sandwich with that as its filler. Would you?
Which leads me to presenting this simple way of making those agonizing voting decisions--I call it the "Would You Have Lunch With This Guy?" method of making up your mind. This method works equally well for deciding who you'd like to date, who you might want to eventually marry, or which person to pick to be on your work or school project. It goes as follows:
Close your eyes and picture a person/candidate you're interested in voting for (dating/working with) sitting across from you at lunch. It can be lunch at your favorite coffee shop, bistro, or your own kitchen table--wherever you feel the most comfortable. The lunch has been provided, so no stress there. The interruptions have been minimized and there's no outside interference allowed. You have this person's undivided attention, and they are ready to answer all your questions truthfully and without guile. Ask them your questions and make note of their responses and then thank them for lunch and let them mentally depart.
Got it? Okay, open
your eyes now and do some thorough research on the answers this person/candidate has
given you. For political candidates, don't just go with one or two casual sources--and don't just go with the
candidate's propaganda sources (i.e., their campaign staff and the mainstream media).
Check out some good independent reporting resources such as The Real News Network, The Grayzone, The Rational National, or The
Humanist Report. In your mind's eye, did this candidate answer the same or
differently than what has been documented about their policy positions in these
If the candidate answered differently in the past from what you imagined they'd tell you over lunch, do you think you might have "put words in their mouth" hoping they would come off better than they appear to be in reality? Did you really want them to be a decent human being, but the evidence isn't quite there? It's okay if you've caught yourself trying to make this guy a better person--less of a bore, less of a player, less of plagiarizer, less of a liar, cheater or blamer. It's a natural habit most of us have, trying to make others into something better than they really are so we can congratulate ourselves for being smart enough to vote for (or date/marry/work with) them. But, in the long run, you have to admit that it's not a wise move to let our habits guide us in these important decisions.
I assume that most realize putting words or ideals into a political candidate's mouth isn't going to serve us or our fellow citizens very well down the road. The candidate won't be able to live up to our lofty goals, and so we're bound to be disappointed. It probably okay to be disappointed if all we wished for is for our Town Hall to be painted purple, and the candidate ended up having it painted beige instead. But if you desperately wished that a chosen candidate wouldn't start a senseless war to appropriate the oil, lithium, rare earth minerals or other resources from another country, and the guy goes right ahead and does that (because it makes Big Business and the Military-Industrial Complex happy and profitable), then that's a different story. Lives are at stake and lives--especially innocent ones--could be lost in starting a war or allowing violent conflict to ensue. These lost lives might include some of your loved ones.
to keep in mind is that once you've chosen a candidate (or slept with your
date) you can't take it back. Uh-uh, it doesn't work that way. Remember the old
adage: "Once they've got the milk for free, why would they buy the
cow?" For political candidates this means that once the guy has gotten what they wanted out of you (you've cast
your ballot for them) there's no reason for them to do anything else
for you ever again. You have no leverage if you've given any candidate what
they wanted (a vote or sex) for free. You cannot force them to change their mind or ways at this point.
Giving away your vote unwisely can prove problematic in many ways. Say you desperately want a particular candidate to modify their position on universal health care because you and your family are without any kind of health coverage. Why would a candidate give you and yours Medicare For All if the guy openly states they're going to veto any M4A bill that comes across their desk after they take office? Take the guy at their word--if they hate the idea of Medicare For All now, they won't support it later. You best bet is to move on and check out other candidates and vote for one whose platform matches your need for health care.
And don't be afraid to ask yourself this: Is this the guy I want to have lunch with in the first place? Be honest with yourself. Don't let others do your thinking for you. It's not their lives at stake here--it's yours. If you find another political candidate who answers your questions over "lunch" and in the media in a manner you agree with, perhaps this is the guy you should vote for and not your first pick. (Hint: There is a presidential candidate who supports Medicare For All and for ending of all wars for oil/resources. You can write this guy's name in if he's been blocked from your ballot, too. You're always free to think outside the "box" of the status quo. Don't be afraid to exercise your freedom!)
Another important area to consider whenever making a life-changing decision is long-term compatibility. You'll have to live with the results of your decision, and you'll want to make it a strong and lasting one to be proud of. So, would you have lunch with a guy who would do things you don't approve of for ethical or moral reasons? If not, then why would you vote for (date/marry/work with) this candidate?
If you can't even picture yourself sitting alone in a room with this guy long enough to have a casual business lunch, it should set off the warning bells in your brain right there. Is there a "creep factor" about this candidate? Do they have a history of sexual assault or physical/verbal/psychological abuse? Do they make you feel uneasy?
Be honest here: If you can't picture yourself having lunch with a person, then why would you feel comfortable having them represent you in government or potentially walk down the aisle with you or work with you to get ahead at work/school? Why would you want to link your destiny with theirs?
I hope these tips help you at the voting booth or while marking your absentee ballot (or deciding who to go on a date with or work with). If only more people were brutally honest with themselves and refused to fall for empty campaign rhetoric and the manipulations of others with decidedly different agendas, what a happier world it would be. We might even all enjoy a free lunch together sometime.
Beyond the Bomb recognizes that our fight is the same fight, our goal the same urgent, deeply consequential goal, and we applaud their achievements.
As more nations of the world add their voices to the chorus demanding the elimination of nuclear weapons, however, we recognize that it is the nuclear-armed countries — none of whom have signed the Treaty, and many of whom have publicly rebuked it — that must take the first steps down the path to zero. As long as these countries believe that nuclear weapons are essential for their security, no amount of external pressure will shake their commitment to maintaining their arsenals. But, as more and more people around the world take up the cause of delegitimizing these arsenals, we must hold nuclear-armed nations to account. The case must be made that not only are these weapons profoundly immoral and unacceptable, they are an urgent existential threat to national and human security.
As one of many in the fight to eliminate nuclear weapons and prevent nuclear use, Beyond the Bomb remains committed to working with the US public and policy makers to drive toward No First Use – a critical, trust building policy declaring that the US will not start a nuclear war. We believe a global norm of No First Use will facilitate the phased, verifiable elimination of all nuclear weapons and that the US is in a unique position to lead the way among nuclear-armed nations.
Disarmament is as ambitious a goal as it is an essential step to securing humanity’s future. Today, we celebrate the achievements of others in this fight and reinforce our commitment to the difficult work that lies ahead.
Cecili and the Beyond the Bomb team
From JVP Action:
I saw the news that Elan Carr, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, was pressuring the State Department to slander trusted human rights organizations like Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International as antisemitic because of their work for Palestinian rights.
Make no mistake: this maneuver has nothing to do with Jewish safety. It’s straight out of Trump’s playbook – Carr is attempting to wield accusations of antisemitism as a weapon to undermine Palestinian activism for the administration’s political gain.
Help us send a message to Carr: drop this baseless and harmful claim, and focus on real antisemitism.
Put simply, Trump’s appointee is failing at his job. Rather than monitor and work to dismantle antisemitism worldwide, Carr is devoting his time and energy to attacking international human rights groups, falsely redefining antisemitism as support for Palestinian rights, and attempting to silence criticism of the state of Israel.
If it wasn’t clear enough that Carr is focusing on the wrong things, the State Department’s virtual conference on antisemitism yesterday did not once address the machinery of white nationalist antisemitism and murderous violence against Jews.
We need to hold this administration accountable. Tell Elan Carr to stop these unfounded attacks and focus instead on dismantling real threats to Jewish safety. Human rights are too important. Palestinian lives are too important.
Carr’s definition of antisemitism is deeply flawed and collapses the Israeli government with the Jewish people. His argument hinges on the idea that alleged or perceived support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions is antisemitic. This line of reasoning crops up time and time again, and we see it for the dangerous lie that it is. Every day, our community fights antisemitism and advocates for Palestinian rights, including through our support for BDS – it’s not only possible, but necessary.
Please add your name now and share with others in your community who, like you, are committed to Palestinian rights and to dismantling antisemitism, alongside all forms of oppression.
Rabbi Alissa Wise
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