Thursday, May 26, 2016

Your Own Dignity: The Voight-Kampff Test for Supporting a Candidate

There are a few podcasts that never build up in my listening queue:  99% Invisible, Judge John Hodgman, Smodcast, the list goes on. During the past winter while I was working graves at a gas station, I started listening to KCRW's Left, Right & Center. Since listening to the first episode while moping the floors on the beer aisle, I haven't missed an episode.

Left, Right & Center is KCRW's weekly show about politics, policy and culture. It's a well balanced discussion (and explanation) about politics and policy that pulls from journalists across the political spectrum.

The program has had a few different hosts. It is the host's job to take a centrist view and keep things on task (though all of the guests are extremely well-behaved, and it never turns into the pissing matches lauded on pundit cable news channels).

Each episode ends with the three participants giving a short "rant" about whatever topic they feel like. Josh Barro, Senior Editor at Business Insider and current host, ranted about Trump and dignity in the May 20th episode.

Barro's well-articulated thoughts poetically draw attention to the about-faces made by so many politicians and pundits as Trump has now secured the GOP nomination. And while he leaves room for many valid reasons to support Trump, he explains how the 180 for so many to toe-the-line has come at a great loss of dignity.

Here is his Voight-Kampff test he presents for those making the Trump switch:
"You should just think, if I get in bed with Donald Trump today, how am I going to feel about it in the morning? Will I believe that I have preserved my dignity? And if the answer to that is no, you just shouldn't do it."
Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) with the Voight-Kampff Machine, Blade Runner
That's not to say that in not supporting Trump, voters are only left with one other option. In the same May 20th episode, Robert Sheer, columnist for Truthdig and The Nation (also the journalist supporting the left in the episode),  suggests citizens should explore supporting both Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

We should all support who we feel will do the best job, and perhaps the barometer to use in making that selection is supporting the candidate who leaves our dignity in tact. I mean, even a guy learning about politics while mopping a gas station floor shouldn't trade his dignity for popular alignment.

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