Alert: Some minor spoilers ahead if you have not read The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Last week I wrote about how The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge (now available in paperback) was connected to Halloween. This week is, for some of us, even scarier—it is election time. But again, we can turn to Scrooge and find a connection to what is going on in the nation right now. In my book we meet not the miserly, misanthropic Scrooge of Dickens’s narrative, but the reformed, transformed Scrooge who, at the end of A Christmas Carol, “knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.” What does this have to do with the election? Well, here come the spoilers.
In my book Scrooge takes three old friends on three different journeys with three different (yet familiar) ghosts. In each case they learn ways in which they can make the world a better place and, as one reviewer put it, create “ripples of human kindness that can change whole societies.” I intentionally created three circles of kindness in which we each might operate—circles we might label “family,” “community,” and “nation.” Without giving too much away, it’s fair to say that two characters in the book learn what a difference they can make in the world by showing kindness and compassion for others in their own family and in their community.
But one character sees what a difference those same ideas of compassion can make when applied at a national level—through politics, legislation, and a set of national values that reflect concern for those less fortunate. I’ll be honest, I don’t know enough about Victorian politics to know if the idea that legislation can help address some of the social ills in the world puts Scrooge into a particular party, but that’s not really the point. The point is that our actions—whether as family members, as part of a larger community, or as voters—can and should spring not from self-interest, but from a concern for others.
Scrooge might not tell you who to vote for, but he would say to use your vote to help others rather than yourself, and to always keep your eye on how—at home, around town, or in the voting booth—you can make the world a better place.