Next Tuesday is Election Day, a day on which we Americans choose who will decide our laws and policies, from county to federal offices. It is a day on which we stand up — or go out — to say what we want our government to be. This year, the political world has been unusual, with the Tea Party Movement upsetting the Republican establishment and Democrats possibly losing big in both the House of and the Senate. But whatever your political affiliation, I have one plea to you: Do your research on the candidates; know who you want to vote for and why.
As a student myself, I know that asking you to do a little research over the weekend may fall on deaf ears and be considered blasphemous since midterms have just ended, but I can at least hope you will consider researching your candidates. Elections are important, and if you plan on voting — which I hope you do — please take whatever amount of time you have to look up these individuals and their ideas on policies and issues you find important. Know why you are voting the way you are.
Some of you will vote strictly on party lines, but I beg you to take a step back and look at everyone (including those from the other party). You should know who you are voting against; you never know if you might actually agree more with the other party’s candidate — it may be doubtful, but give it a shot. I’m not asking you to switch your political party allegiance or alter your ideologies, but being informed helps in deciding for whom to vote. I believe that being politically conscious is important. These people running for office will be deciding parts of our future, whether it is our city’s or our state’s or even our country’s future. Isn’t this kind of important?
It is a luxury at the College of William and Mary to have such politically active and politically educated students. So, talk to a friend who is taking a government or economics class, and go over some issues or policies in which you are interested. By no means should you blindly follow only your friend’s opinion, since most people have their own personal party preference, and be weary about some partisan subjects. Still, this is a nice way to begin to know what is going on when it comes to politics and candidates. We also have access to professors of various political ideologies here at the College, and am sure they will be happy to talk to you about an issue in which you are interested.
Anyone can be — or become — politically savvy, and I feel like it is our duty to know politics, to know policy and to know why we vote the way we do. I encourage you to be the bright College students I know you are, by not making rash decisions about the election based solely on picking someone from your party or believing something you may see on an online ad. Take charge of your voting responsibility and decide if the candidate you want to support is the best candidate for the job. Does he or she have the same opinions as you? Does he or she want to solve a problem that you see in the community or state? Just take some time and think. You may think your vote doesn’t matter, but without your vote a candidate can’t win. Make smart choices, do your research, and vote for who you believe is the best person for the job.