Be More than A YouTube Voter, Be an Educated Voter

by Chris Seeger

As this year draws quickly toward the election of the 45th president of the United States we are being inundated with political ads, discussions, bumper stickers and citizens from both sides of the political spectrum who attempt to draw us into political arguments.

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It has become impossible to block out the barrage, and in the spirit of the season I decided to engage with some of my acquaintances to get their thoughts on the political process, who they were planning on voting for, and the reasoning behind that intended vote.

It was with great horror that I realized the majority of my peers, acquaintances, and even past professors (all supposedly educated people) had no substance behind their ideology and minimal in-depth knowledge of their political party’s platform or of the candidate they are planning to vote for. How can you enthusiastically support a candidate or party without knowing what they stand for?

I approach decisions in life in a common-sense based manner; if you do the research and gather enough data you should be able to make the most logical, positive choice in any situation. My responsibility to cast an educated vote was no different, and I began the process by reading both candidates’ “plans.”

I began with “Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth” and continued with “Blueprint for Change: Obama and Biden’s Plan for America”. My reasoning being, if I didn’t know what both candidates’ plans for leading this country were, how could I possibly support either of them?

It is this blind support of the political process that cripples so many U.S. voters. Far too many voters base their opinions and vote off of 30 second YouTube clips and political ads, or vote based on how their like-minded peers are voting; the same peers that are just as ignorant of the political process as they are!

We justify this lack of political education by uttering phrases like, “all politicians are the same” or “nothing ever changes regardless of who I vote for,” meanwhile not having done any of the research to figure out if either of the candidates are worth a damn.

As I compiled the research to make the decision on who I will elect as my president, I asked myself some key questions that every voter should ask themselves to uncover what they truly believe in, and which candidate best encompasses those values.

Here are some questions every voter should ask themselves.

What should the government’s overall role in society be, and how much power should it hold?

How should the tax system be structured, and how should government administer those tax dollars?

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What role or obligation does the government have to provide welfare to its citizens?

What role should government have in economic regulation?

How should the U.S. approach trade regulation with foreign countries?

Should our health care system be government run or administered through a free market system?

What should the U.S. role be in foreign policy, specifically conflict resolution?

What should our immigration policy look like?

How can we improve our education system, and what should the government’s role be?

What should our energy policy look like both abroad and domestically?

This list is a very basic framework for exploring what your political ideology is, but it should motivate more questions and ultimately give you some clarity on who you will cast your vote for in the upcoming election.

Guest columnist Chris Seeger is a CSU alumnus who formerly wrote for the Collegian in 2008. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.