Our country is going to elect a new president this year. I feel truly awed to live in a country that takes this process so seriously. We are historically a patriotic crowd and always seem to be “fighting for our rights” in one way or another. Although, sometimes it feels like each individual is much more concerned about his or her rights than what is best for the whole of our nation.
I’m a relatively informed person and try to absorb as many facts about candidates as is possible. I resent the tedium and effort it takes to accomplish this. We, the voting constituency, have made it such that politicians have to measure each syllable they utter very closely. If a statement can be spun, taken out of context or misquoted slightly to cast an altered light on the hopeful candidate, it will be done.
It would be easy to blame the media. After all, they report, analyze, editorialized and decide what is or is not newsworthy. And while they are supposed to be impartial, the gate-keeping function of their job (deciding the content we see and hear as news) by nature allows them to exercise some amount of bias.
But I contend the fault lies in us, the media-consuming, voting public. Scandal and controversy sell media (print, broadcast, electronic and other). This is business. If there was profit in honest, simple fact-conveying, that is precisely what we’d be getting, but apparently that is not what we’re hungry for.
The millions of dollars spent on executing a presidential campaign is staggering. When that number is multiplied by the number of contenders and dreamers entered in the race from the onset, it boggles the mind. Such astounding feats could be accomplished if only a quarter of those riches were used toward some of the idealistic rhetoric the candidates propose and promise.
Why do they have to start campaigning years in advance? Why do we follow the ups and downs of polls so closely and (almost gleefully) watch the demise of one’s dream while we criticize and loathe another’s success.
I’m generally shocked at the man-on-the-street interviews in which people are asked questions about the candidates. Typically people have a strong opinion and share freely whom they love and whom they hate. But when asked about their beloved candidate’s political accomplishments-- what he or she believes about the issues of greatest concern, people often are clueless.
Herein lies the challenge I’m putting forth: first and foremost, know what you believe and why. Think about national security, economic stability, military strength, international relations, abortion, illegal immigration…anything you believe matters to the future and well-being of our society. Decide your position, then look at what each candidate espouses on these issues. How have they voted in Congress about related matters?
There is no perfect person on earth and there isn’t likely to be a presidential candidate that thinks exactly like you do on every issue. Find the one that is closest and throw all your political conviction and support behind that person. Stop criticizing what is lacking and promote the substance you’ve deemed truest. Don’t even waste time or energy slamming the opposition, just be positively positive about who your candidate of choice is based on the options at hand. If you ask me, I’ll tell you who I’ve picked and why. I’m over it…get on with the elections already!