Today, I will conquer a common misconception by stating “Do not vote, don’t you dare.” Those are words that we do not often hear. Surprisingly, those are words that I mean. If you are not educated on the pros and cons of each candidate, do not vote. If you are blindly voting based upon your parents’ political alliances, do not vote. If you are voting out of blind hatred for one of the candidates, do not vote. This seemingly archaic notion of making sure that you “go out and vote” is quite flawed. The phrase should be altered to become: “Educate yourself, then go out and vote.” An uneducated vote is not a vote at all; it is better not to vote at all.One must realize that his or her misguided vote counts the same as every other vote. How can you dare to cast your senseless vote when the outcome of the election matters so much to others. It is a scary thought to think that the election could potentially be decided by a slew of nonsensical votes. To cast one is a disfavor to your nation. We must attempt to abide by our civic duty and begin to cast well-researched votes. Another thing that voters must begin to realize is that there is a choice between two candidates. Far too many people view the election as their candidate in a competition against the other. We are given a choice for a reason. I understand party alliances, but to an extent. Is it too much to ask for each potential voter to at least consider the other candidate? Obviously, if you agree with the majority of a party’s platforms you are going to want to vote for them. However, leading our country takes more than having a specific stance on the issues at hand. The best candidate will have the best leadership qualities, and you must admit that your party’s candidate may not possess those characteristics.Make sure you are constantly asking yourself about the candidates. Questions such as who will make the better leader? Who can make crucial decisions in hard times? Who is more suited to become the face of the nation and, most importantly, who do you trust? Once you ask these questions, then you can begin to factor in how closely the candidate’s values align with yours. But we must shake this belief that the only viable candidate is the one that our values align with. In every presidential election, far more is at stake than the issues that each candidate supports, the state of America is at stake. The only way to answer these questions is to do your research. Research is the one thing that can truly validate your vote. When you do your research, make sure you avoid biased sources. Many trusted sources are actually full of bias and partisan reporting yet claim to be fair and balanced. Like these sources, you too must revert to having an open stance on this election and those coming as well. Quite often, I believe we get more caught up in the competitiveness of politics rather than its ramifications. We start to believe that, if our candidate does not win, our hope for America will vanish. We, as a country, need to take a step back and stop involving our emotions in the elections and involve our common sense instead. We need to realize bi-partisanship is how things can be most effectively accomplished in government. When electing a president, we need to think about which candidate is willing to turn away from his party in order to help the American people. Far too often, politicians make the wrong choices in order to save face. We need a president that will fight for us and stay strong as a leader. Whether that President be Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, we need them now more than ever. Make sure to do your unbiased research and support the candidate that wins wholeheartedly, and you will stand behind a better and more unified America. For those of you who will carry on waving your red or blue flag in ignorant anger of the opposition, when America stands worse off, angry and divided you will regret doing so and sooner than later you will realize, its not me, its you.
Deon Thomas is a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s Not Me, It’s You appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.
Original Author: Deon Thomas