The right way to vote, from a person who can't

By Grier King 10/25/2012

 

In the time that I have become conscious and interested in American politics, I have also become disillusioned. As a child, I looked to the American government and the people who spoke for it as vehicles of change, determined people who would make a bigger impact on the future than I would ever be able to.


I remember being in the second grade and casting a mock vote for president when George W. Bush and Al Gore were campaigning, but it didn’t mean anything to me. I was in the second grade; the only reasoning that contributed to my choice was which man I thought was better looking, although I cannot remember now which one I chose.


I should have thought harder; that vote was the only one for president I would ever have the chance to cast.


As this election season draws close to its end, I begin to collect my observations and form a solid thought on the candidates and their chances at securing the votes of the American people.


In a way, it no longer seems as though Americans have the choice of who they deem to be the best candidate, merely who they deem to be the least worse. The vote they cast will be for the man whose narcissism allowed him to survive the blood bath of propaganda and attacks on personal morals and conduct that has been found throughout the campaign.


As I watch the campaign videos and advertisements, see the posters and bumper-stickers, and hear the sharp and digging comments made by my peers at CSUCI, my stomach twists into a knot and my cheeks burn, half in astonishment and half in embarrassment, at the length people will go to just to have their voice heard as the loudest above all others, no matter how strongly, or not, they believe in what they are saying.


Not having the ability to vote since I am not a citizen, though I do have legal residency, yet having my life affected by the choices of my voting American friends, makes this whole circumstance a bit uneasy. Not having the ability to vote has allowed me the perspective of neutrality. I can agree and disagree with anyone, no matter the party or issue. I can observe, question and listen without being offended by any person’s opinion. As a college student who is surrounded by peers who are, for the most part, just coming to a defined political opinion for the first time in their lives, however, I also find it to be somewhat concerning.


As voting-age citizens, I have an expectation of my peers, a standard to which I hold their acts of fulfilling their rights as citizens. A voter should be knowledgeable, a voter should be confident in the candidate, as well as confident in the platform of the party.


When I hear peers speak of their reasons for voting, I often hear of trivial things: the attractiveness of the candidate, or even why they may not be voting for a certain candidate, a certain slip of the tongue in regard to a statistic or an opinion not fully formed before it was spoken.


It is concerning when a voter exclaims, “I am voting for the person, not the party!” Is it not considered that one of the greatest roles of this person is to advance the agenda of the party he or she has chosen to represent? It also seems as though voters are more inclined to vote for the person who, aesthetically, fulfills their ideals. Which candidate owns a more compelling voice? Which candidate can configure an easily read facial expression? Which sweats less under the spotlights on the debate floor? Which has a better television makeup artist? Are voters more compelled and enthusiastic about the platform being presented by the candidates, or by the nuances of their expressions?


In reality, neither candidate is very different from the respective opponent. The left has been gradually moving toward the center, and the right more toward the right. Voters must pick bones over minuscule differences and a major lack in valuable and honest facts. This, of course, makes informed voting all the more difficult.


This is a call to arms; this is a plea. Read, study, become informed. Vote, but vote intelligently. 

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