Excellence, Engagement, and Ethics in Election 2016
Back in the spring, we asked readers of our April 2016 newsletter to ponder the following questions with relation to the 2016 U.S. presidential election:
1. What abilities and qualities do we expect a public office holder to demonstrate?
2. Who among the candidates has the skills to do the job with technical excellence? What information did you use to make your conclusions?
3. What factors of the political environment are allowing or preventing the achievement of public excellence today?
1. What issues make you feel most engaged at election time? How does this influence your voting decision?
2. Which candidate do you feel is most engaged in carrying out his/her plans and serving the country? Why?
3. How can we overcome feelings of dis-engagement that many people have in the political process?
1. What ethical principles should a candidate demonstrate to the public?
2. How do your own values and ethical considerations align (or not align) with your preferred candidate?
3. What steps can we each take to reach compromises or shared understanding of vexing ethical disagreements?
These questions ask readers to think through the lenses of excellence, engagement, and ethics, or what The Good Project calls the “three Es.” We have adopted the “three Es,” which originated from our Good Work study about how people do good in their professional lives, as guiding values.
With Election Day now less than two weeks away, we wanted to take this moment to remind all of our readers to pause from the chaos and set aside time to reflect alone or with others in civil discourse. You can use these questions as a guide to spark respectful conversations about the election or deeper analysis of your own values and those of others.
This election has brought to the fore many different fault lines in American society. Economic rewards have not been evenly distributed, and many people feel left out of the current system. The scope of America’s role in the rest of the world and its responsibilities to those in other countries has been debated. Conflicting visions of what US society should look like have arisen. As Howard Gardner has noted in his blog “The Professional Ethicist,” a crisis in the media and lack of “disinterestedness” has led many to distrust journalists. And many educators have had a difficult time making sense of these disputes and presenting them in a constructive way in their classrooms.
We invite you to share any reflections you may have from this election cycle, and don’t forget to set a positive example of civic participation for young people by voting if you are eligible on November 8 (or earlier)!