Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Campaign is On!

Lawn signs seem to be cropping up everywhere I go. No, not for upcoming political elections but for flu shots. It's that time of year and, interestingly, how we approach our choices may have some parallels.

For some people, voting is easy. Stick with the party line and you'll be fine. Whoever the candidate is, if they are with your party of choice, you vote for them. But politics is never quite that simple. Political parties embody a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives, and the lines are often blurred. Busy as we may be, though, having two (or maybe three) choices makes it easy to pick a lever to pull. However, if we want to be aware and involved we need a new strategy. So, we start with the candidates. Who are they? What do they stand for? How will their perspectives impact me? What are the benefits and risks of voting for one candidate over another? We might ask some trusted friends, neighbors, or read our favorite columnist for more information. We might seek out experts in the field, tune into different viewpoints, or even attend a debate. We educate ourselves, inform ourselves, and then make a choice. We vote consciously and with intention. Perhaps we're satisfied some time down the road, perhaps not. But we do our homework and weigh in on the options.

And how do you choose when making a decision about the flu shot? We can go the "party" line - it's safe, effective, and our doctor said we should protect ourselves. Or we can go deeper. We can review studies of efficacy and safety, on both sides, consult the opinions of our trusted friends, family members, or healthcare advisors, and read reports, studies, and books to make an informed choice. Making an educated decision is certainly more time consuming. But whether we are concerned with the future of our town, our country, or our health and well-being, it is time well-invested. Blanket decision making based upon one source, or even from one viewpoint, is not well informed. Our circumstances are unique, as are our life views and body chemistries.

Just because someone put up a lawn sign, doesn't mean they are the right candidate for you. The campaign is on, but how you vote is up to you.

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