The informed voter: an introduction

File photo
File photo

I am not a political science major. In fact, U.S. Government was probably my least favorite class in high school. Additionally, discussions about politics usually make me uncomfortable and sweaty. I do not know the name of my own mayor, and if you asked me my opinion on our current economic situation, I would probably say something along the lines of “Well … you know … those Bush tax cuts … ehem …. So what did you think of ‘The Dark Knight Rises?’”

Thus, the question logically follows: why would I, of all people, be qualified or even want to write about this year’s November elections? The answer is the same for both charges, and it is that on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 my political thoughts and opinions carry the exact same worth as those of President Obama himself.

That is crazy. Truly. We live in a country where one day every four years we make nationwide decisions in which each and every one of us carries the same weight. On that day, former president Jimmy Carter, your annoying high school senior sister, Oprah Winfrey, and that creepy lady down the street who steals shopping carts all have an equal say.

It is a day where the the preamble of the constitution rings truest and the American dream is most real, and I want to be ready for it. So, to be honest, I am not more qualified than any of you to be writing this column. In fact, probably less so.  But what I am is an American citizen that has decided to take the journey towards informed votership, and I want to take you with me.

Over the next nine weeks leading up to the election, I want to bushwhack through the thick jungle of modern politics and find ways in which I can educate myself on the issues without earning a Ph.D. in the process. But most importantly, I want to help you all cast the most educated votes that you can as well.

So, this column will not be explicitly about the issues. It will not be about the candidates. And it most certainly will not be about my views. What it will be about is ways that you as an everyday, ordinary American citizen can thread political consciousness into your everyday, ordinary lives, and how ultimately, on Nov. 6, you can cast a vote that counts.

I do not have all the answers. In fact, I have very few and will be asking a lot of questions. But the one answer that I do have is to the question, “Does my vote really matter?” and that answer is yes. It matters just as much as everyone else’s. It is equally important, equally amazing, and equally counted. But only if you make it. So this fall, take the time to inform yourself on the issues, responsibly create your own thoughts and opinions, and cast a vote that counts. And most importantly, don’t worry. I’ll be right there with you.

About the Author

Gabe Gunnink

Gabe Gunnink is a Chimes staff writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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