“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort,

rather  where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

~ Martin Luther King, Junior ~

The 2012 United States electoral campaign has been ripe with unreliable facts, finger-pointing, name-calling, unfair comparisons, and dissecting the opposition based on past criteria versus building up America by focusing on teaming together to accomplish immediate action plans.  Voters seeking authenticity and reliable information navigate social media’s muddied waters and thick clouds to discern truth and make the best choices in the upcoming election.  Websites like www.votesmart.org track politicians’ records helping voters make informed election choices.

“Leadership is an opportunity to serve.”

~ J. Donald Waters~

The predominant, one-sided question being asked of the U.S. President in the 2012 presidential election, while not being asked similarly of the Governor of Massachusetts is, “Are we better off now than four years ago?”  Political candidates would have you answer by looking to graphs, numbers, statistics, and the like.  Marketing analysts will tell you any numbers can be manipulated to appear discouraging and encouraging depending on presentation and usage, which essential proves the numbers to be deceptive and ineffective in quantifying any real change and growth.  How, then do we evaluate what has and has not changed in four years?

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

~ John Lubbock ~

Breathe.  Relax.  Close your eyes.  Picture yourself back in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  What was your life like?  Where did you live, play, and work?  What did you drive?  Were you going to school, and was education even an option for you?  What did you do for recreation, vacation, etc.?   Take some time, and really consider it.  Reminisce by browsing old photos.  Speak with friends about it.  It is important to be accurate and precise, especially if you are using it as voting criteria in this election.

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many.”

~ Charles Dickens ~

I speak only for myself recognizing my experience is not the collective, and I encourage You consider the same for yourself.  I believe and feel absolutely and wholeheartedly, yes, we are both superficially and spiritually better now than four years ago.  I have witnessed friends begin better-paying jobs, buy new vehicles, move into new homes, and more.  People began saving, sending their children to college, and vacationing.   Entertainers and individuals in hospitality jobs have managed to continue supporting themselves with new opportunities on the horizon.  Big Bird has even managed to keep his job and nest on Sesame Street under President Obama.  Those who survived and are beginning to thrive are now able to help others move forward.

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle;

you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

~ Albert Einstein ~

What is beyond the superficial and most important?  You and how you developed emotionally and spiritually in four years is imperative.  How have You grown?  What have You learned?  Who are You becoming?  Where are You going?  Who accompanies You on your journey?   The intangible lessons and wisdom gained and carried within us are infinite resources serving us our entire lives.  We elected a leader who said and says, “Yes, we can,” and, we did.  We learned how resilient and resourceful we are as individuals and a nation.  We have become more compassionate, empathetic, loving, and patient with one another.  We grew in humility with greater respect for the magnitude of teamwork.  We have succeeded in going beyond problems to implementing solutions.  We have and are continuing to blossom and develop as enterprising, giving, intelligent, kind, passionate, talented people stepping fully into our authentic selves and receiving the amazing blessings The Lord has for us all.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Ask yourself, “What is true for me?”  Question everything you hear and read.  Consider it for yourself verses deferring to experts.  Dissect it.  Educate yourself.  Research it.  Study it.  Learn the history behind it.   Approach as if your life depends on it because your future definitely does.  You are important.  Your vote counts.  Choose wisely.

Yes, we can.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~ John 8:32 ~

©2012 Susan Stackpole  www.susanstackpole.com