A Note on the Upcoming Election: Research, then Decide

Listening to: Creator - Santogold

I feel like I want to rip humanity a new butthole. I'm not too sure if it's laziness or blind acceptance, but it's becoming increasingly more common in conversation to hear people talk about their preferred candidate but, once they're asked to explain their support, they can't respond with concrete reasons. Eloquently put by my history teacher, "I've heard people put more thought in their elections for Prom Court than our election." This kind of attitude towards our presidential elections makes them more like popularity contests rather than choosing the best leader for our country.

Now, I'm no politics expert, but it doesn't require a ton of knowledge about politics to be able to recognize ignorance on our part and deceitfulness on the media and candidates' part. And, for the record, so you don't think I'm typing with any sort of bias, I dislike both Obama and McCain equally. I think they're both poor choices for our country for their own respective reasons.

Part of the Problem: The Media
You've heard it a million times on this site. "The media is bullshit." I never really realized it until I actually started doing some research on our candidates and current status as a country. News networks nearly always have a bias, and, quite frankly, its usually towards Obama and occasionally towards McCain. Here's a good rule of thumb when it comes to news channels: They don't report to inform viewers, they report to satisfy viewers. Satisfied viewers will translate to consistent viewers. Bush has a pretty moderate, yet general disproval rating, so let's think: will the local news be waxing poetic about McCain, who is believed to have sided with Bush on policies? Local news broadcasts to a general audience, so they would most logically present views that reflect the viewers. Likewise, Fox News broadcasts to a substantial number of conservative viewers, so you really won't be seeing them joining the Obama bandwagon anytime soon. With the media, it comes down to this: if the people hear what they want to hear, then they'll keep coming back for more.

The Other Part: Us
What's even scarier than the paragraph above is that so many people buy into it. Does anybody even research anymore? As long as something sounds good, we're happy with it - kind of like the $700 billion dollar bailout plan, although I'm glad that some people can see through that. It's so easy for the media and candidates to twist statistics. It's especially dangerous to the newer generation, us - at our age, we know a lot less about politics and the current state of our country. We certainly aren't going to be spending our free time reading a 60,000 page document on tax revisions. Almost everybody supports Obama at my school, and that's cool, but what's disappointing is that no one can back up why they support him. Here's some thought-provoking reasons provided by some of my friends:

"Because McCain sucks!"
"Well... Obama is a really good speaker, and he sounds like he knows what he's doing."
"I don't know, he's just cool! He sounds like a normal guy."
"He stands for change!"

To address the question I asked at the beginning, is it our own laziness to not research candidates, or do we just buy into whatever local news channels or newspapers tell us? What do you think? Personally, I think that people are satisfied with the second option, so they don't bother to do any research.

So What Do We Do?
If we can't turn to even the local news for unbiased reporting, where can we go? This is a question that I've asked myself for a while until I joined AP US History and had the best history teacher of my life. He totally changed my perception of history class and now it's one of my favorite subjects. He gave me a website, listed at the end of my Blog, which is where he gets a lot of statistics and quotes. You can do your own research on candidates, find out where they get their information, and be able to really form your own opinions. There's other outside sources you can go to, and really you'll have to find them by yourself. In a few days, I'll be posting links to websites on my Profile which might be worth checking out.

This is my future that people will be voting on in a few weeks. A lot of people aren't very informed about candidates but will play a part in shaping my future. I'm not comforted by that at all. My concluding point, harsh as it may sound:

KNOW YOUR STUFF BEFORE YOU VOTE.

www.votesmart.org
Posted on October 23rd, 2008 at 06:47pm

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