With election day coming up, I’m working with my husband on educating our youngest on how to make an intelligent decision when she goes to the polls.
Where should she get her information before marking her ballot? Friends? Mentors? The media? All of the above?
Story idea: how DO folks arrive at their ballot choices? Is it based on careful thought or impulse? Does it tie in with their moral/spiritual beliefs? Is it based on rumors or gossip they’ve heard…on advertising? Do they vote a straight party line?
Our goal is to – first – have our daughter consider her own beliefs. What is important to her AND why is it important? Then the homework begins. Yes – listen to everyone, but listen for FACTS. Not opinions. The world abounds in opinions. It can get confusing. But if all you’re dong is listening to other folks’ opinions, they are the ones marking your ballot. Not you.
Next – in our state, California – read the election materials send out by the state/county – whoever prints it up. The arguments for both sides of the initiatives are presented as well as a neutral analysis of effects and costs.
This is not true of candidates though – so research becomes even more critical. When she reads the paper – watches TV – cruises the internet – she needs a mental list of facts she wants and needs to get those answered. What are the candidates stances on issues important to her. Does the candidate follow the wishes of his constituency or his or her own values. (Either is acceptable if you know your candidate and constituency.) What kind of person are they? (What is their track record as a politician or person – are they HONORABLE?)
Yeah – lots and lots of questions. That is IF you are gonna do it right. The little marks you put on paper can make a difference – what kind is up to how well you did your homework.