Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Political Alienation…

[Stepping on to the soapbox…]

So, full confession, this is the first Presidential election that I’ve been really following.

Sure, in past years I’ve known who was running (which is the first step to being politically savvy), and I probably watched a couple of minutes from the debates.

But I certainly didn’t watch them in their entirety, or read commentaries, or political blogs, or watch talk-heads prattle on about why their candidate is so totally awesome! (All of which I’ve done this year.)

And I wouldn’t say that the reason I’ve been more involved this year is due to the candidates, themselves. (I’m not too fond of either of them, truth be told. The person I was rooting for didn’t get the nomination.)

But, it has to do with the fact that, finally, at (ahem) 33 years of age, I understand the difference between the main two parties.

And it’s more than just little things. It’s big, fundamental differences on what this country stands for, where it should be headed, and how we're going to get there!

Yes, many (if not most) politicians are smarmy. Yes, many (if not most) love power and the wielding of it. And, yes, many (if not most) can be downright dishonest.

But…and there is a but… that does not mean that “They’re all the same.” Or “It doesn’t matter.” Or “There’s no real difference between the two.”

They’re not. It does. And, there is.

And if you’re voting, you should know that.

If you don’t, do a little reading. Or ask a friend (who’s nice and respectful) to tell you what he or she thinks. However you go about it, get the information! (From both sides of the aisle.) You should understand the arguments for and against everything you believe in. (And as a bonus, it makes you much more interesting.)

Now, there are side effects to informing yourself:

1) You care a lot more about issues and outcomes (which could cause you to be overly passionate about things—much to the chagrin of people talking to you.)

2) You become frustrated with people who don’t care, or can’t provide a single reason that they’re voting for someone other than “He’s new and for change.” Or “He’s old and for change, too, sort of!” (FYI: If you tell me who you’re voting for, be prepared for me to ask you “Why?” and expect real answers.)

3) Or, you come to realize that the party you’re currently a member of no longer represents your world view. So, after this election, you’re switching!*

The bottom line is that the election is going to be over before we know it. But, the ramifications will be felt for years to come.

So, make sure before you hit the polls, you know what you’re giving to the future.

[Stepping off of the soapbox…]

*Yes, all of these reasons happened to me. So, be forewarned

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