Following are several steps to voting intelligently in the election this November, as well as every other election.
Step 1: Figure out what the issues are. A few examples are education, health care, immigration, economics, moral issues (abortion, marriage), stem cell research, gun control. There are others.
Step 2: Decide where you stand on all the issues.
Step 3: Decide which issues are most important to you.
You will notice that through all of these steps you have not looked at any candidates or parties or friends or neighbors or political ads or anything else. You are figuring out what you believe, what you value, and where you stand.
Too many people I fear, skip these steps entirely. They are then in danger of being influenced by every passing wind of fashion. And that is just not good.
Step 4: Look at what the candidates say about the issues. Look at what they have done on those issues in the past. Don’t depend on what their opponent says they think, look at what they say about themselves.
Step 5: Find someone who lines up closely with where you stand, especially on those issues that are most important to you. The odds of finding someone who shares your exact same stances is very slim, at which point you might consider throwing your own hat into the race just so there is the option of voting for a “sane” person.
Step 6: Ignore the majority of the commercials which will be almost pure mudslinging, taking things out of context, twisting words and intentions, and much general ickiness. Watching political commercials can quickly make you lose all faith in humanity.
Step 7: Don’t forget to vote, but do it intelligently. Don’t be like the boy in this NPR story about Voting For a Book who knows nothing about any of the books up for election at their school and can’t explain why he’s picked one book over another. Know your reasons. Know where you stand, and then stand firm.
I hope this public service helps someone.
And I want everyone to know that I don’t want to hear what you think about the candidates. I’m following my steps. I know where I stand and I’m listening to what the candidates say to find out where they stand. I’m not listening to what other people say about where the candidates stand. So I’m really not interested in whatever article you found that said somebody said/did something. The only thing I want to know about lipstick on pigs is from a farmer who’s actually tried to put make-up on farm animals.