Integrity Zone – for voting, for life

There’s an excellent quiz floating around Facebook. Called “See which Presidential Candidate you side with”, it asks a series of questions that you can answer with more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and then it tells you how you align with the six major presidential candidates. The quiz is here, if you’re interested.

Turns out, I voted for the candidate with whom I was most closely aligned. Whew! Good news. Then I wondered, how many did the same, and how many found they were more closely aligned with another (probably third party) candidate, for whom they did not vote? So I asked people to take the quiz and report, yes or no, if they’d voted for their top candidate. Yes, an objective Facebook poll. 🙂

One person reported that they didn’t vote for their top candidate, but for their second. However, the two were only 2% apart. I replied that this was probably statistically insignificant, and that he was well inside his integrity zone.

Hey! As soon as that phrase hit the keys, it struck me as important for this election and for life in general. Are we voting, are we living, inside our integrity zone?

Let’s start with the voting question. In the US of A, we are stuck with a constitutional two-party system. This makes it nigh-on impossible for candidates who espouse a third viewpoint to be heard, much less elected. That means many people will not vote for a third-party candidate even if they align with them politically, for fear of ‘throwing their vote away’. Now, if there’s a major party candidate whose perspective is also closely aligned with one’s own, that’s not a problem. We are able to vote for that candidate without compromising our integrity.

But what about the person who took the quiz above and noted that he will still vote for the majority party candidate, even though that candidate scored ten percentage points lower than his first choice? Ten points is statistically significant, and surely takes him out of his integrity zone. He said he voted the way he did to ensure that his last choice candidate (the OTHER major party candidate) was NOT elected. You can make the case that he was still voting with integrity.

More commonly, though, people vote for someone they don’t really like in order to be on the winning team. No one wants to back a loser. The problem is, sometimes those third-party candidates would get elected if everyone voted within their integrity zone instead of worrying about whether or not their vote will ‘count’. This includes the person in the paragraph above.

Politics is one thing, but what about our lives? Why do we make choices that are outside of our integrity zone? It seems to me that the reasons are similar to our voting choices. We take the wrong job, because it’s the safe thing to do. We marry the wrong person, because it looks better than the third-party – oops, wheel – alternative, which is to be single. But we wind up stuck with a life that works no better than our current legislature, that bears no resemblance to our opinions or our hearts.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that we vote and live only within our integrity zone. If we do, we win no matter who is elected. Choose well!

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