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Educate Yourself About Politics: Don't Cast a Blind Vote

By David A. Lynch
On November 23, 2010

The power to cast a vote in to elect an official is exceptionally powerful. When the United States was founded in 1776, the founding fathers of this country restricted the ability to vote. Only wealthy white landowners were afforded the right to vote initially. For nearly two hundred years, those who had the ability to vote made attempts to legally prevent women, African-Americans and other minorities from participating in the electoral process. Today, there are several laws in place to guarantee that almost everyone over the age of 18 has the right to vote.

The United States uses a representative democracy. That is, we as individuals are not directly involved in the governing process. We empower another individual to represent us and our interests. Those elected officials should be knowledgeable, responsible and ethical. The election of poor representatives will not necessarily run the government into the ground, but the effects will certainly be felt by voters.

In the current age of 24/7 news coverage it is far easier for voters to be aware of political issues. With the Internet readily accessible for many, it is far easier for voters to become knowledgeable about the stance that candidates have on many issues. When Barack Obama was elected as President in 2008, he campaigned on the promise of change. Change is something that needs to occur at a fundamental level for everyone if this country is going to improve. Voters need to educate themselves about candidates. They need to elect representatives who will best represent their interests, amd elect those who have a similar stance on political issues.  

Voting simply because of party affiliation does not accurately reflect the complex issues that we face today. Sure, a candidate may be a member of the Democratic Party, but what is her stance on same sex marriage, abortion or education? These are questions that voters should know before they cast their vote, but often that is not the case.

Feb. 22 is the date of the next Chicago Mayoral election. In the next three months, use some of that free time to educate yourself about the candidates. Vote for the person that you feel will best represent you and the city. There is an old saying about Chicago elections: "Vote and vote often." Be a part of the change and vote responsibly.

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