Lack of Values in Politics?

people-press-american-values-surveyYou might be surprised! But if you feel as frustrated as I do with the lack of political energy to get anything done for us in Washington DC, it seems we can look to our values for what's going wrong.

Last year The Atlantic/Aspen Institute American Values Survey published an eye-opening survey. Here are some of the findings:

  • Two-thirds of those surveyed say the country is heading in the wrong direction and 7 in 10 say that people's values are getting worse.
    • There has to be a correlation between the two. If you know what you value, you are more likely to pay more attention to who gets elected. If you elect people who reflect your values, and they vote on laws that reflect your values, then you are more likely to like the direction the country is taking
  • 7 in 10 people believe that their elected officials reflect mainly the values of the wealthy
    • So why do you and I keep electing the same person, year after year and decade after decade?
      • Is it because you don't vote, or when you vote you don't research what the incumbent has been doing? Until a few years ago I thought that the most important time for me to vote was in November. I finally woke up and realized that the people I have to pick from in November are selected in the spring at the primary elections. So if I didn't like who I had to pick from, I should pay more attention sooner.
      • We might hate the politicians, but we keep voting them into office for twenty, thirty or more years.
  • Here's something else that I thought seemed funny: while half of all Americans don't attend church regularly, they still believe that religion is important. My question then is this: if religion is still important, how do you practice it? Do you pray daily, teach your children how to pray, tithe, love your neighbor, use righteous judgement...or something else?
  • I wonder if the decline in church attendance is due to religious scandals in the church hierarchy (in all faiths) or a decline in personal values.

Read more at The Atlantic

Also last year, the Pew Research Center conducted research with about values and politics, comparing them between 1987 and 2012. It found that no political party is solely responsible for the political divide. However, the research also found that the gap between Republicans and Democrats is greater than it has been. It's a hefty survey but you can get the highlights here: American Values Survey

Is there a personal, individual disconnect with our values and is it hurting us now and hurting future generations?