Educate yourself before you vote.

Normally, I hide behind things that are PC. I don't want to offend anyone, I don't want to get in arguments, I don't want to bring up controversy... whatever, whatever. When I was a public school teacher, evvvvvverything had to be objective and PC. 

Now that I'm on the sidelines, I'm feeling it's appropriate to exercise a bit of my first amendment rights and speak a bit more candidly about this dreaded thing that so many people moan about on Facebook status updates... politics. 

Here's the thing: I'm not going to talk to you about why you should vote for so-and-so, or why so-and-so is so much better than the other person. However, what really bothers me is the fact that SO MANY PEOPLE between the ages of 18-30 don't take the time to a) identify issues that are important to them (and for substantial reasons), and b) determine which candidate is going to support those beliefs and views. 

Regardless of what side you're on, it's greatly disturbing to see the way the media portrays each candidate, and how each campaign goes the route of taking personal attacks at the other. That's not how winning an election should happen! In America, we are a democracy. We the people need vote for a candidate who we feel is going to support our personal beliefs and goals as not only an individual and community, but as a country. Far too few people have determined what those goals are, and what they want for their future (including what it is going to take to get there, financially and otherwise). It's become now about which campaign has more money than the other to create advertisements that run during primetime slots, and who can take the bigger hit at the other one...

I received this email from the NEA (National Education Association) a few days ago, which really concerned me:

It bothered me for many reasons, but particularly because this is supposed to be an organization supporting our children and making better schools for teachers and children, and they send out an email blasting the character of a public speaker and asking for money in the same sentence. 

Additionally (and yes, I watched Ryan's speech during the RNC), I was a little shocked to read the claims that this political director included in her email such as, "Ryan lied about Medicare... the plant closed during Bush's watch...Ryan led the charge that lowered the US's credit score..."

So I had to do a little investigative research myself to find out the truth. The truth is (from Karen M. White who apparently feels that lying is her least favorite character flaw), is that she was incorrect as well. BOTH SIDES were not accurate in their claims and BOTH SIDES exaggerated facts. Had I not researched this email's claims for myself, I could have gone along and though, "Wow, Paul Ryan is such a liar. I can't believe he would say that."  (and Fox News did not call Ryan's speech "deceiving," a Democratic contributor who writes editorials for Fox News did.)

Unfortunately, some people might not take the time to research campaign truths for themselves, and they will get caught up in voting for someone that looks good, that makes promises, that everyone else is voting for, or that their parents are voting for because they don't know any better. 

This election is extremely important for our nation's future and the direction we are going as a country. I was laid off from teaching because of a broken tenure system. I know people who cannot find a job for the life of them after college and are back to working at Starbucks or nannying. Filling up my car at the pump costs over $45, when it used to barely cross $30. We are in debt beyond measure and creating a healthcare system that taxpayers cannot afford. I worry about my grandma's future on Medicare, and small business owners facing revenue and personnel decreases because of mandatory insurance offerings. I worry about how much bigger class sizes are going to get because education budgets keep getting reduced year after year to pay for social services such as unemployment. I worry about tax revenues supporting our government, and how much more of my paycheck will be eaten up by state and federal taxes. I worry about how regulations are going to affect healthcare, corporations, small businesses, home loans, and the quality of services we receive from providers overall. We almost couldn't buy a home because the regulations on home loans were so strict. 

These things I worry about, so I'm taking the time to educate myself on which candidate I feel will best support the changes I want to see in the next 4 years. 

In getting ready for November, ignore commercials. Ignore emails like the one sent above. Ignore character blasts and mockeries on Facebook and Twitter feeds and don't be ignorant about truth. Research. It might take you awhile to get there, but do your homework because campaigns aren't doing it for you. Figure out what's important to you in the world and who will get you where you want to be, then vote accordingly.


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