Choosing the Lesser Evil?

By Laura Aviles, Staff Writer

The “lesser evil” principle explains the dilemma when faced with two alternatives that results in a non-common-good goal. In this situation, the criteria for selecting from two unpleasant options proposed is that it is ethical to choose the option that you believe will yield more positive outcomes. In other words, the one which is least harmful. In politics, this concept has its roots in the realpolitik described by Ludwig von Rochau in the 19th century. Nowadays, it is often discussed under the voting system across nations in order to explain a “rational” vote that does not represent the desirable popularity.

mask-1249929_960_720The results of the presidential election last Tuesday brought forth a mix of feelings. Some people were astonished, in shock, angry, disappointed, sad, and nervous, while others were glad and celebrating with hope for the future. The divisions were noticed more than ever before, resulting in confrontations through social media and in riots throughout the country. Many are riled up by the previous behavior of each others’ candidate during what can be recorded as one of the dirtiest campaigns in the United States modern history.

Choosing the lesser evil has never been easy, especially when the options are so controversial and the pressure of friends and media to vote is so high that another option is almost unthinkable. The implications led to many disappointed people that decided not to vote. In fact, according to the U.S. Election Project, more than 41% of people eligible to vote decided not to. The internal conflict of what is ethical and what pressure dictated made a turnover. There was a lack of enthusiasm on going to vote, it was not there. But what determines who is evil or not and which is the lesser evil?

In a zero-sum scenario where someone wins, the other party must lose. There is not a win-win situation. It is increasingly evident that Clinton ran a terrible campaign. Despite the support of most part of the media or perhaps because of it, having Trump as an option started to appear as a fair one. The corruption label was something that haunted her to the end. Her lack of charisma did not help as well. The projections showed that there were nearly 6 million fewer voters turned out this year than in 2012, with around two-thirds of the no-shows being Democrats. There could be more several reasons for her failure, but sometimes not responding at the appropriate time or on the appropriate topic made people think that she must have something to hide even if perhaps she did not.

The current results are not popular as well. It’s become common to hear “I don’t feel represented” or “This is not my president.” The divisions are still there, and it’s even harder to express which one was the lesser evil.

If there is something T-Birds have learned about having a global mindset, it’s that each person and culture has their own perspective. The respect for each culture and opinion is essential even if that position is totally different than yours. There are some internal conflicts that may push someone to support an option that they think is not ethical and that repels personal beliefs. We must be careful not to be blinded or normalized to racist, sexist or xenophobic comments, because indifference is the biggest evil of all. The lesser evil may change, or it may not, but the result will still be the same. It is time to build a world where a situation of “choosing the lesser evil” could be an opportunity for a turnaround, where there is no fear to express an opinion. We have a duty to that.

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