From Shakespeare’s Hamlet we have this advice from Polonius to his son, Laertes.
This above all; to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee! Hamlet Act 1, scene 3
Polonius, like most fathers, was a bit pompous and long winded, and his son Laertes was about to sail to France for some peace and quiet. In his ramblings Polonius offers other advice as well, like “never a lender or borrower be” or “be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar” or “Give thy thoughts no tongue.” All good ideas, but I digress.
So what was Polonius trying to say to his son? The popular new age view has this meaning that we should value ourselves and our self-esteem above all else. Since Shakespeare is not a new age kind of guy is there some other meaning here? The Dad in me says yea, verily tis so.
I share the view, as others have discussed[i], that what Dad is trying to say is to understand both the negative and positive of a choice, and balance your own interests against the influences that others may offer, putting first those things you value above those of the crowd.
This Presidential election makes this advice more important than at almost any time within recent memory, and perhaps my life time. Both sides are making arguments about what is best for the country, and what her or his opponent will do to destroy the country if elected. What we have seen in past campaigns is the rhetoric, the promises or the slanders, are never kept or fully realized, and if they were the country still goes on. Perhaps diminished, but it goes on. All we as individuals can do is be true to the values we believe to be right and just, and hope those around us share similar values.
For me the most important question to ask is does he or she honestly share your personal values? Things like not voting for him will assure a win for her, or who will fill the next Associate Justice position are outside my control. What I can do is be honest with myself and consistent in keeping my values as important.
I suspect far more people have already decided how they will vote than the polls indicate, I know I have. If you are truly undecided I suggest you spend a few moments in reflection and prayer to consider what your personal values are, and how important they are to you, and vote accordingly.