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[OPINION] Please Don’t Be an Irresponsible Voter

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Elections are the cornerstones of our republic, yet voters don’t take them as seriously as they should.

The ability to have a say in our government was one of the fundamental reasons for our revolution against Great Britain. For 250 years, we have fought to expand these voting rights to every adult man and woman citizen in our nation.

But we are in a voting crisis. Nearly half of all eligible voters, nearly 100 million people, don’t vote. Especially today, when voting is so easy to do, I find it incredulous that so many freely give up a right that their ancestors gave their lives for.

And for the other half of eligible voters who do make it to the polls, many of them aren’t putting in the work it requires to be a responsible voter.

As we near the upcoming election, I entreat voters to take it seriously, to do their research, and vet candidates thoroughly and rigidly.

Here are four things every eligible voter should be doing in the upcoming election.

 

How to be a Responsible Voter:

1. Brush Up on Your History!

 

No, that doesn’t mean enroll in a U.S. history course, but you need to refresh yourself on the political, philosophical, and moral foundations of our country. It’s only by understanding the past that we can hope to make wise decisions for the present.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

 

Here are 3 things you can do:

  • Read the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights
  • Watch a documentary on the American Revolution, Civil War, and War World II. (“America: The Story of Us” is a great series to binge watch.)
  • Read about/watch the origins of the Republican and Democratic parties (from a non-partisan source).

 

2. Research the Candidates and Issues

 

Now that you have a solid refresher of where we come from, it’s important to know where we currently are.

First, figure out the issues.

What are our current domestic and foreign problems? What policies were enacted in recent administrations and how does that affect the American people? Are there any wars or conflicts happening? Why?

Then, see how candidates approach these issues. Of course, a school board member will have different concerns from the President, but it’s the same strategy. See what candidates have positions that match your opinions, beliefs, and values. Remember, these may not always be from your same party.

Here are 3 things you can do:

  • Take the test on www.isidewith.com to familiarize yourself with the most pressing issues of the day, as well as to remind you of your party affiliation.
  • Attend community town halls and meet and greets with local candidates to ask questions.
  • Watch the Presidential Debates and listen to both candidates’ rallies.

 

3. Before You Choose, Look Ahead

 

Arguably the most important thing a voter can do is to look at the future ramifications of their vote on American society, global community, and history as a whole.

Think about the effects policies being debated today will have on the generations of tomorrow. Are they positive in the short run but negative in the long run?

Reflect on the long term composition of the Supreme Court and Congress. What will this mean for law making and judicial review in future administrations?

Sometimes, these future considerations are more important than those of the present, and can even alter your vote.

 

Here are 3 things you can do:

  • Look at other countries who have implemented the policies we are debating today. Have they been successful? Have they led to war and dictatorship?
  • Remember your vote for President is a vote for the Supreme Court. Choose accordingly.
  • Think about the next 50 -100 years of American society and industry and try to imagine the outcomes of different policies.

4. Vote!


Either by mail, during early voting, or on Election Day, make sure you go out to vote. Bring your friends and family and make it fun. Take your children with you and inspire them to take hold of the privilege it is to vote.

 

 

Congratulations, if you follow these steps, you truly will have voted responsibly. By understanding the past, we can contextualize the present, which allows us to choose our best course of action for the future.

One final tip: Try to diversify your news intake. Remember that news will sell whatever story they need in order to make a profit. If you only watch CNN or only watch FOX, I’m sorry to say you’re getting biased news. Watch a spectrum of channels, read different newspapers. Go out of your way to hear liberal and conservative debates and reflections. This will keep you informed and level-headed.

2020 calls for responsible voting, rise up to the challenge!

____________________________________

Marcos Barrios is a Florida National News contributing writer. The avid writer and musician is passionate about politics and entertainment in Florida and abroad.

1 comment

  1. Maria Reply

    Thank you for your unbiased, rational approach.

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