The season of voting is upon us again and it’s been a literal charlie foxtrot in my neck of the woods. I can’t watch more than 15 minutes of television without seeing a political attack ad on one of the multiple candidates that are on the ticket this round. At no point have I ever used those political ads as a source of information because they can take a 5 second sound bite, taking it out of context, and using it to support the alternative point of view. I mean that is after all how these things work. Throw enough money into negative advertising saying the same narrative over and over, whether true or not, and people start to believe it. Kind of cruel when you think about it since there are so many platforms to spread a particular version of the truth depending on what the story is being conveyed.

My approach to things is to view as impartial as possible sources of information so that I’m not swayed by details that are irrelevant. That is the reason that political ads aren’t efficient methods of information for me as none of them show the entire story or the full context of sound bites. Finding details on candidates through public sources of information isn’t as hard it seems and anyone with a computer can find these public sources. I’ve consistently found the information I needed to make an informed decision for local and state candidates by doing this. Going to your state government sites shows how a particular candidate voted for instance, so the commercial that says they “support” a position but have voted against it is extremely telling of their true nature. The same sources exist for federal level candidates as well.

I don’t consider myself a representative of one or another party, rather I fall in line with the issues that tend to have the greatest impact towards making lives better locally and nationally. If the candidate that supports that issue in line with me, and their voting record supports that view, then I support them regardless of the party they are running with. The level of extremism and anger from both sides of the aisle have clouded a large majority of voters’ judgement and ability to choose their candidate wisely. So many contributing factors have caused this, and a single post isn’t going to cover everything. My belief is the main root cause is the undercutting of education across the country over the last four decades has created generations of undereducated or poorly educated citizens that are much easier manipulated to a particular narrative. The sad truth is that most people don’t bother with the time or effort to learn if their viewpoint is based in truth, hate, anger, misinformation, or a combination of one or more things.

Trying to figure out things on your own is never an inefficient use of time or energy. Fighting for what you believe in is also never an inefficient use of time or energy. What is a waste of time and energy is taking things at face value without asking questions and fighting for a belief that is based on those uninformed ideas. We all have our freedom to speak but we also have an obligation to listen to what each other is actually saying.

Remember to vote, it’s our civic duty as citizens to do so.