Today, I wore a sweatshirt at the same table as someone wearing a suit. Today, I had lunch with someone who I like. He’s intelligent, successful, good-looking. Today, I had lunch with someone who listens to my ideas, and doesn’t agree with me all that much. I respect that.
So, it shouldn’t have surprised me that today, I had lunch with someone who isn’t voting for Barack Obama.
And yet, never has my stomach risen to my heart so violently after eating just a regular ole’ hummus sandwich.
My whole body wanted to reach out and envelop him in all that is Obama.
If this sounds a bit hysterical, it should be.
Unity is not easy. Hope is not rational.
And as much as we’d like it to be, neither is politics.
It would be easy for me to argue for an Obama candidacy on the basis of the issues. I’ve researched those. And if I were voting on issues alone, settling for any one candidate would prove to be easy, because any one candidate is remarkably similar to the next.
But I’m not voting on issues alone.
I’m voting on something entirely more powerful.
That is, the first feeling you get – your gut instinct – which, as it turns out, is remarkably accurate.
We are highly instinctive creatures. We know how to read people and situations for survival, for love, and for power.
A recent study looking at the faces of successful CEOs proves it. The “experiment lends support to a growing argument among psychologists who study decision-making that when people come to quick conclusions without much information, their decisions are often good ones.”
Our human instinct is among our greatest strengths.
It’s why a woman can tell within the first five to ten minutes of meeting a man whether or not she will sleep with him.
It’s why Ryan Healy spent months going over idea after idea for his new company, only to return to his original thought.
It’s why individuals who hone the gift of fear – the most primal of all instincts – are able to save their own lives.
You cannot hide from instinct.
Across the ocean, there are those who use their instinct just like we do, and will look at Barack Obama and notice “first and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it’s central to an effective war strategy,” argues Andrew Sullivan.
In fact, everything you need to know about Barack Obama is available in his face – his authenticity, first and foremost, and then the change he wishes to create, as well as his imperfections as a leader, husband and father, and his great hope for this country, his wife, and his daughters.
It is for this reason that Generation Y and Generation X have embraced Obama like none other. We know that “authenticity is not the product of manipulation. It accurately reflects aspects of the leader’s inner self, so it can’t be an act,” just as Harvard Business Online reports.
And yet, we have to be weary. Instinct is easily muddied. It can be dragged through lies and panic and deception, much like the sludge seen on the streets of Madison, WI after blizzard, upon winter storm warning, upon wind advisory.
You can call your instinct an evolutionary reaction, or maybe your soul, Nature, the Universe, your heart, or perhaps even God helping you throughout life, but don’t ignore it. Protect it. Learn to trust it.
Know yourself better than anything or anyone to change the world.
My instinct is that Barack Obama is the leader to unite this great country. You don’t have to agree with my gut, but I urge you to listen to your own.