The American Responsibility
People like to have power and people like to have control. One of the greatest parts about being an American citizen is you are entitled and enabled to have both, and you do not even need to do much to obtain it. All you have to do is register to vote. What makes America great is Democracy, every person can have a voice. Most people think having a voice in politics is about being elected or having a popular news media outlet to reach many people and to influence their decisions; however, this is not the case. Every person who goes to vote has a voice in the future of our communities and country.
One of the core values built into The Constitution of The United States of America is freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. News outlets, both on line and through traditional media, can talk about anything they want without being persecuted by the government. Now this does lead to inaccuracies at times; however, these instances are in the minority. Media in America can be a great, it can teach you about the issues and the candidates, and media outlets are free to endorse any candidate they want. It is true that every media outlet will have some sort of political bias, some more extreme than others. Do not let bias stop you from reading or listening. When it comes to election time it is important to learn about the issues and representatives on the ballet that impact you. Use multiple sources of media as a tool. Look at claims and promises from both sides of the spectrum and make sure to understand who is making a recommendation. A lot of local papers with publish a list of recommendations from multiple agencies and cite their sources. If you are not sure if the story or information is credible, check the source yourself or try another media outlet. What is important is you utilize the tools media provides you to help make an educated decision on who and what to vote for.
Listen to Candidates and Read about Issues
Heading into elections there are countless organizations who spend money to promote a candidate or issue. As a result of the freedom of expression and speech organizations are also free to run negative ad campaigns. These campaigns, sometimes not even funded or endorsed by either candidate, talk about why you should vote a certain way. It is not responsible or wise to make an opinion and cast a vote based on these advertisements alone. Instead, spend a little time to listen to quotes and read articles about a candidate. Try to learn what these people stand for and if their values and goals align with yours. This can be complicated because politics are not black and white issues, they live in the grey. Both candidates should have some positives and negatives, find out what they are and make an educated decision. This applies for ballet issues as well. If you are not sure about the details of an issue just do some research. When in doubt, simply read the ballot description of the issue at hand. By listening to candidates speak about themselves and their values and reading about what an issue is about, you empower yourself to make an educational voting decision.
Do not Fear Getting Involved
On almost any election ballot there will be issues you are passionate about and issues that you consider secondary to your interests. It is important to identify what issues matter most to you and which candidates represent your views the best. Do not keep this information to yourself. Part of the political process in American is the debate that occurs. People with different views must find common ground to allow for a productive society. When an issue matters to you, talk about it with your friends and family. Share your opinion and talk about why you feel that way. Sure some people will disagree with you and it can lead to conflict. However, without conflict there is no compromise. We are a nation based on understanding and compromise of people with very different backgrounds and culture. Do not fear misunderstandings, embrace them. Only by understanding each other and working together can we make a difference. You can make a difference by better understanding issues and helping to spread that understanding. This can lead to better voter outcome and more accurate representation of how a community feels about a candidate or issue.
Every Vote Matters
Heading into Election Day almost every news outlet will be talking about some sort of voting poll and a lot of these outlets will make predictions based on these surveys. Do not let this information stop you from voting for yourself because you believe it will not matter. Every vote is counted and every vote matters. If people do not go to the voting polls because they don’t believe it will matter based on the poll’s prediction it can greatly change an election. Many election surprises happen every year and a lot of the time the minority side on an issue prevails, the reason why who shows up to vote. If a group thinks they are going to win and do not bother to take the time and effort to vote, they could easily lose despite having many people agree with them. So make sure you take the time to vote, it is a privilege to live in a country where your vote matters. Do not waste such a great opportunity to make a difference.