The upcoming elections are looming large in the United States right now. Every day we see breaking news prompts on our smartphones and TVs about one party’s attempts to thwart the others’. This caused me to pose the following question:
“What does it mean to be a voter?”
An election really has one meaning: People vote to elect the best administrator who will give them the best value for their tax dollars with the rest being PR and marketing. Start by doing intensive research on what each party aims to achieve if they are elected. Invest time in understanding what their primary priorities are, what the history of those points is, and what the likelihood of achieving those is. This will help to understand whether the initiatives outlined are achievable or even viable.
Upon achieving a tight grip on the issues each party hopes to tackle, turn your attention to the candidate who is the face of it all. As with the priorities, do your own research and form your own opinion. Watching endless amounts of news and discussions on TV does not count as research. The wondrous thing known as the internet has numerous sources, points of view, and reading material available for consumption. Reading as opposed to watching allows for dispassionate consumption of material. Research, research, research.
Filter What You Hear
In the days leading up to the election, there are numerous debates between the two candidates and assessments on various news channels. Whilst listening to these can be useful, filter the contents carefully. Ideally one has done one’s research before the speeches and debates begin so one is able to carefully consider and disregard arguments. Not every good orator is a good administrator. If one watches the speeches and debates before reading up on election priorities, it is easy to be taken in by someone’s style of speaking diverting focus from what is important.
A large part of election campaigning includes digging up dirt on your opponent and creating a narrative about oneself and the other. Try to look past the crude nicknames and display of emotion. An election campaign is as much as a PR exercise as it is an attempt to win votes and is designed to inspire emotion-based voting. Whilst that is no flaw, it can easily distract from the strengths and weaknesses of the party manifesto.
Finally, decide whether the candidate’s personal history, virtues, and transgressions are important to you. Whether they are or not, is ok. Just know where you stand so that you are able to resolve conflict within yourself when policy and personal history collide.
In conclusion, ensure that you are prepared to have your voice heard when the moment of truth arrives. With all the talk about vote-in ballots, stay abreast of information on your state and county websites. Find out by when you ought to register and the options by which vote-in ballots can be sent. A bit of personal advice, if there is an option to pay for expedited delivery and if you can afford it, take that option. There is no cost high enough to risk having your say in who leads your country for the next four years.