By: Christine Bertsch <email@example.com>
It was one of those usual lazy Sunday afternoons, when I finally had time during the week to sit, watch TV and relax. As I flipped aimlessly through the channels, I landed on a news station debating politics about the 2008 Presidential Election. I thought to myself, “What the heck, I might as well watch this.” Little did I know, I was entering a world in which I was completely oblivious.
They were discussing names of prominent political figures, and I did not have a clue as to who they were. The issues brought forth were vaguely familiar, and I know I have heard the arguments before. This made me realize how much I flat out don’t know about politics in America.
What really scares me is that I will be eligible to vote in next year’s election. As of now, I do not have the knowledge I need to make a proper vote for the candidate who best suits my beliefs. For that matter, I don’t even know what my beliefs are. I want to be able to make this important choice as a citizen next year with the necessary knowledge I need, because I do not want to fall into the category of people who vote based on a whim.
I want to make the commitment to learning about politics, but I find it an overbearing task. There is just too much going on in my life for me to focus on something that feels so far away. I have tried to come up with ways to incorporate the news into my daily life, but I know most of them would never work.
For example, I could log on to newspaper Web sites instead of Facebook, but that just doesn’t seem realistic because my news basically comes from Facebook. Or I guess possibly I could watch the news on nights when I don’t have much to do, but that would never last. I know the information is out there, but I choose not to use the material. It is ironic that there is so much more information readily available for voters now than in the past, and yet people know less or choose to know less.
As of now, I am an involved student at Carmel, in the top of my class and enrolled in a government class. With these credentials, many may think that I would be an educated voter; however, that is not how it works. This opened my eyes to realize that the voting populous is probably not as informed about their choices as they should be. It’s not just for presidential elections, but also senatorial, gubernatorial, county, district and other types of elections. There are many elections with many choices, it is hard to learn all the information necessary about every candidate, but it is your duty as a citizen to know this information.
The political elite encourages civilians to participate in government activities to maintain democracy, whether it is through voting, campaigning, contacting the government or taking action in the community. However, voting is encouraged the most ever since people are young. Citizens all around the country are expected to vote, but is that really what the top political minds in the country want? Probably not, if uneducated voters are making the decision of who should lead the country, how could the people make the correct choices all the time. Especially considering the fact that many people vote either along party lines or what their parents believe.
Voting is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. I know I must get on track with my political beliefs within the next year in order to make the correct choice. Even though it is not always convenient, I realize that learning about the political system is important for the future, and I should take the initiative now.