Last night, as I watched the first US Presidential ‘debate’ of 2020, my decision about how to cast my vote was solidified. Here’s what I’ve decided. While most people vote for a particular party, political platform, or for a specific candidate, this year I’ll be voting for kindness.

Here’s why.

Because the way a leader leads – how they do what they do, including what a leader says, has a huge effect on those they lead. From the President of the country, to the president of a company, what a leader models influences the thoughts, words and actions of the people they lead.

During these turbulent times, what our country needs is a leader who thinks, speaks and acts kindly. To everyone. At all times. A leader whose kindness will unite, not divide us. A leader whose kind words will calm and soothe the social unrest and upheaval we’re going through. A leader whose kind actions will help us to heal from the physical and mental unwellness of the global pandemic we’re all working to survive.

So, here are the top three things I’ll be looking for in a candidate when making my ‘vote for kindness’ choice this year:

  1. Evidence that the candidate thinks kindly of others. I’ll be looking to see what choices a candidate has made about who they invite to have a seat at their table; who’s been included – and who they have excluded – from important discussions and decisions. I’ll also be watching to see how they treat others from different backgrounds and cultures.
  2. Next, I’ll be listening to what the candidate says about others. Both in words and in print. Since our thoughts determine our words, and our words influence our own and others’ actions, the candidate I’ll be voting for needs to choose their words kindly. I’m not voting for a candidate who speaks disparagingly about others.
  3. Finally, I’ll be looking for a proven track record of acting kindly. How, in past, the candidate has treated those are less fortunate. Those who are vulnerable and need help. Even those the candidate doesn’t agree with. Because you don’t need to agree with someone’s views and opinions to speak and act kindly to them.

Today, in a world where a leaders’ words and actions travel quickly through social media channels such as Twitter, and television appearances like last night’s debate, their influence – unkind or kind – is amplified through repeated views and sharing. That means that in an increasingly fragmented, polarized, and divided world, we need leaders who actively model kindness. Because leaders who think, speak and act unkindly give legitimacy and permission to those they lead to think, speak and act in exactly the same unkind ways.

So that’s why, on November 3rd, I’m going to be voting for kindness. And I hope that you will too. Because, no matter which side of the political aisle you sit on, with your vote, in this election, you have the opportunity to vote not just for the President and your state representatives, but for kindness. And in these tough and turbulent times, that’s the vote we all need to cast.

And please don’t forget to download your free #VoteForKindness poster on our Posters page!