Thursday, October 30, 2008

Issues or the Stupid Stuff?

I have debated posting anything about the election for weeks. I am not one who shares my opinions on things like this in 'real life' and thus wasn't sure I should here either. But I decided I do want to share a bit of my thoughts.

There are only a few days left until the election. Actually, some folks, like myself, have already voted via early or absentee voting. It was difficult for me to decide who to vote for and I'm not going to tell you who I chose.

I am not a one issue voter. However, I believe many of my friends are voting based on one issue only. I don't understand that.

There are SO MANY other areas where the candidates have vastly different ideas and plans that will affect me or ones I love and I cannot just ignore those issues. There are very real decisions that will be made in the first days of the next presidency that affect people I know directly. There are other questions that will be discussed, direction given by the next president that will affect all of us in the next year and years to come. I cannot ignore those concerns.

It's easy to get caught up in the stupid stuff that the media and the candidates teams bring up. Two that come to mind quickly are middle names and clothing. Hello? Middle names (and all names, really) are given by our parents, not chosen by us. I don't think my middle name of Ann says anything about my lifestyle, choices, values. Nor does my first name of Michele. It's my name, not a statement of my life.

And the clothing of the candidates? Who among us has enough clothes to be on tv multiple times per day, riding a bus, raising our hands and looking fresh? Even the people I know who are very fashionable and have lots of clothes won't have that many, I believe. Did they go overboard on what they bought? Probably, but who cares? Does it affect the choices, values or decision-making of the candidate? It's just not important enough to warrant all this focus.

My daughter is in sixth grade. Her class is studying the election process. Each night she is given a list of issues to read up on for both presidential candidates. She is going directly to the candidate's website's and literature for the information. She has to read their views and plans, then decide for each issue which direction she prefers and why. At the end of this process next week, she will look at all the issues they studied and determine which ones (not just one, multiple) are the most important to her. Then she will decide who she is voting for based on the candidates that most match what is important to her.

I am so thankful to my daughter's teacher for walking the kids through this process. She is learning how to be a responsible voter years before her vote will affect the actual outcome. But I know when she does start voting in a few years she will think through all the issues, deciding on what is important to her.

My question for those of us who are voting and affecting the outcome of this election - are we choosing based on all the issues that affect us or are we choosing based on the stupid stuff?

11 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I still haven't decided who to vote for, I'm sad to say. There are so many issues that are important to me and neither candidate has wowed me this time.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Oh my goodness - I don't care who you are voting for, but this is probably the best post I have seen written about the subject!

Well done and I couldn't agree with you more! Isn't it amazing how many people will throw their vote away on the dumbest reasons??? Or vote based on one issue because it's the only issue they somewhat understand? Sometimes it creeps me out that you don't have to have any understanding of issues or candidates and yet you can still cast a ballot (but I'm convinced that is exactly how certain presidents got into office!).

Anyway, thanks for a great post, Michele~

Red lady-Bonnie said...

Michele,

I agree with you completely...thanks so much for writing a wonderful post about this! I have stayed away from posting about this issue as well for similar reasons. I have several friends who are also choosing their vote on one issue. They have even said, so and so isn't a "real" christian if they vote against that issue. I have found it very offensive and feel that everyone has the right to make their own individual choice.
I am voting for the issues NOT the stupid stuff!!

Yasmin said...

'My question for those of us who are voting and affecting the outcome of this election - are we choosing based on all the issues that affect us or are we choosing based on the stupid stuff?'

It's always been about the issues for me...which is why I did my research months ago...and was able to persuade a couple of folks I know to change their minds. ;)

Shana said...

Michele - I think it's great what your daughter's teacher is doing. This election is such a wonderful learning opportunity for kids.

I know what issue you're talking about and I completely see your point.

Shana
Literarily

sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Kudos to your daughter's teacher for this important life lesson! I'm also impressed by how the election process is being covered in our schools (the older kids, grades 5 and 7). They've had mock debates and are working toward a mock election. My eldest was asked to interview five adults about specific campaign issues.

Well-written post, thanks.

jessi said...

I haven't done the early-voting thing, but I know who I'm going to vote for. My students (10th graders, and thus too young to vote themselves) bug me constantly, but I try to bring my personal opinions into the classroom. We do watch Channel One, which is basically news for kids, and they've been doing a lot of campaign coverage. The students seem really interested in this campaign, but I'm afraid a lot of them are looking at race rather than seriously weighing the issues.

Great post! :)

Ellykins1 said...

At the end of everyday, I think I know who I am going to vote for...but then the next day it's all up in the air again. I have watched all of the debates and even watched the commercial that aired this week... and I am still undecided. There are SOOO many issues involved in this election that will directly impact our nation on day one. I keep praying that God will let me know whom it is He wants in the White House. When did we as a nation stop asking Him to direct our path? Times have changed. Thanks to you for a great post. It was very insightful and well written.

J. Kaye Oldner said...

I agree with Shana and Dawn. Kudos!

Kristie said...

I know who I am voting for and it isn't because of the hype of one candidate, or one single topic, or because people are telling me it would be best for me. I take voting extremely serious and vote in every election, no matter how small and local. I can tell you one thing that I totally resent though, is the fact that my husband pays union dues and so much literature has come to us in the mail telling us who to vote for. I think it is an extremely irresponsible way of spending money especially after they raised the dues and hours keep getting cut.

Sorry about the rant... I thought your post was excellent and really got me thinking which is always a positive thing!

stacybuckeye said...

Excellent post Michele. I've also thought about writing a post on who I'm voting for and why, but after seeing some of the hate filled blogs out there decided against it. I already voted absentee and will be working at the polls on Tuesday. I think people should vote for the issues, but this time around I also think temperment is important. I don't want another president who shoots from the hip. But in the end each person needs to go with what is important to her.
I think it is wonderful what your daughter's teacher is doing. A generation of engaged and informed voters is just what we need!