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Monday, Jan. 4, 2016

Breaking News

The difference between ‘feel’ and ‘do’

Would you rather “feel” better or “do” better? Your answer will tell a great deal about you and may even help predict who will be elected our next president in November.

You see, our brain circuitry is such that emotion overrides reason, and much more easily than the other way around. And while many voters think they are casting their vote based on their logical analysis of the issues, many really aren’t – at least not today, in our non-stop streaming, round-the-clock, always on, television, radio and Internet news cycles.

Because of the amount of available information to us on the issues, and the speed at which it is dispatched to us, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to analyze every new development or alert. Suddenly, then, our country is moving away from a cautioned, logical analysis of the issues, to a quicker, knee-jerk, emotionbased decision making process, instead.

And if you said you would rather “feel” better, than “do” better, perhaps that is an indication that you’ve thrown in the towel, so to speak. Maybe now you’ve decided you won’t try keeping up with the constant barrage of breaking news and will move toward relying more on how a candidate, or an issue, “feels” to you, instead.

It’s just a basic human principle, really. We like things that make us feel good. We avoid stuff that feels bad. Here are some examples of how emotion-based decisions are dominating our nation’s most pressing issues:

You want to improve national security, but don’t want to engage in profiling all Muslims, or to turn away refugees coming into our country from Syria.

You support the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, but you feel that increased gun control legislation must be passed in order to “do something” about the rising gun violence in our communities.

You believe universal healthcare, controlled by the government, actually reduces access and increases medical costs for millions of Americans, but you don’t want to deny medical care to anyone, or for anyone not to be able to get the medicines they need to feel better.

You know the unemployment rate always increases whenever the minimum wage is increased, especially among the poorest Americans, but you feel like everyone is entitled to a living wage, and the dignity of supporting your family.

You believe in the freedom of religion, but you don’t feel it’s right for any business owner to refuse service to a customer because of their sexual orientation.

You know the poverty rate has remained unchanged over the past 50 years in our country, even after spending $22 trillion, but you don’t feel right about any legislation aimed to cut entitlement spending because the poorest among us deserve a “hand up.”

We could go on and on here. All of these examples represent impossible choices for many voters, and the difference is between doing what we know is better, or doing what makes us “feel” better.

It makes us “feel” better not to profile and to welcome refugees who are suffering, but according to the Department of Homeland Security, we could “do” better if we did profile. In fact, a former DHS employee testified the San Bernardino terrorist attack could have been prevented if the Obama administration had not shut down his surveillance investigation on the grounds that he was profiling Islamic groups.

You may “feel” better to support new gun control legislation because “something” must be done, but study after study has shown nations with the strongest gun control laws have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. Chicago has the toughest gun control laws in the country, for example, and they have the highest violent crime rates, as well.

You may “feel” better to support universal healthcare coverage, but since Obamacare was enacted, there are 31 million Americans who still can’t afford medical care (and won’t for the foreseeable future).

You might “feel” better advocating for a “living wage,” but the recent increased minimum wage law in Seattle resulted in the loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs within a month following that wage increase.

Again, we could go on and on here, comparing how we may “feel” with the actual facts. The question is, “How much damage to our country, or lost opportunities to ‘do’ better, is this shift to ‘feeling’ better costing us?” How many more laws will the “feel” better crowd propose, that overrule our personal freedoms, from the freedom to worship to our right to bear arms? How much more of our national security will be compromised, because of political posturing? How long will we continue to remain silent, as hard work continues to be replaced with greater and greater entitlements by those who want to “feel” better? How much longer will we allow the government to run our lives based on what they “feel” is best for us, instead of us running them?

No, good decisions don’t always “feel” good – not at first, at least – but that sure doesn’t stop them from being the best ones, either. Happy New Year to you all, and may God bless America.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman and attorney. He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by email at louisavallone@mac.com.


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