Monday, November 28, 2016

Democracy: What's it All For Anyway?

Greek philosopher, Socrates, believed "voting in an election is a skill, not a random intuition, and like any skill it needs to be taught systematically to people. Letting the citizenry vote without an education is irresponsible." 

The 2016 presidential election ripped off a proverbial bandaid from America's big, fat ass exposing the pus-filled ooze of discrimination, racism, misogyny, and classism, which fueled emotional reactions to rhetoric instead of encouraging American voters to focus on the issues that are most important.

It wasn't until President Obama's second run that I learned to figure out which candidate would represent my views and beliefs. Surprisingly, after taking a quiz at an exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, I learned that the presidential candidate who best represented me was Newt Gingrich, not Barack Obama. I was shocked, but since that time, I have taken measures to learn as much about each candidate before deciding and casting my vote.

This year, it was Jill Stein. To make this determination, I answered a few questions in an online quizShe didn't win, but she did run a good campaign by employing innovative methods to connect with voters across the country. Because she was unable to participate in the presidential debates, she set up a Facebook Live debate during which she answered the questions posed by debate moderators as if she were standing on the stage with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

In order to become a more informed voter, encourage local and state elected officials to create programs and initiatives to help the constituency learn more about government and politics. Many people fail to participate in the process because it is unclear how becoming engaged can help make impactful changes.

Be serious about learning and doing more. The time to start is not during the election cycle. Use these resources to get started:

Please note: It is not only important to find the candidate who best represents your beliefs and values, it is also important to investigate candidates' records - what she did while in office - as well as whether he or she operated ethically and with integrity. The good, or bad, news is that for incumbents, there is usually a wealth of information available that can give voters better insight about performance. For example, a state representative is now running for congress or mayor. We can look at his record in his previous office to help us determine how well he will perform in the new office if elected. Let's never permit a candidate to run unopposed. 

But wait, there's more. Are you a person of color, LGBTQI, or a member of another unique group that wants legislators and other elected officials to pay attention to a particular issue or concern? Find out what's on the group's agenda and focus on helping elect a candidate who pledges to address the issue. 

When we vote, however, we must keep in mind that no candidate has the power to wave a wand to implement the ideas mentioned during the campaign. Pay attention to the election cycles. Elections are held often, and it is important that we, citizens, plan for our future like our lives depend on it because it does.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Dalila. Thanks for writing this blog post. I found it informative and useful. I would, however, be interested in learning more about what your readers think.