Students must study candidates, issues before heading to the polls

Column by Derek Brown

In the upcoming months, students will have to decide, many for the first time, who they will vote for in the presidential election. My advice: focus on the issues. Don’t get caught up in the mudslinging by each campaign. At the same time, however, don’t blindly buy into the hype that each campaign is tirelessly attempting to build around their candidate.

While admirable, does it really matter if someone was a prisoner of war (no matter how many times you hear about it), when deciding the next president? No. Does a daughter’s pregnancy actually determine whether or not someone is suited for the White House? No. Does a lipstick comment tell you anything about a candidate? No. Don’t let talk of occurrences such as these distract you. Your job is to determine who is best suited to lead the United States into the future.

The youth’s opinion is vital to our country’s democracy. It shows the nation where we are headed, and what we are learning. The youth’s stance in politics is a crucial element in elections and some research may be necessary to accurately show these opinions come Nov. 4.

Think. Decide what is important to you and find which candidate shares those same ideals. Don’t listen to the advertisements on the television and radio, look up voting records online. Do your homework. The goal of a campaign is to win the election, so of course they’re not going to publicize flaws of the candidate. It’s your job to find out the truth. Be a detective. Don’t be consumed by the speeches where each politician pledges how great they will make the country. I swear if you listen to the speeches with your eyes closed you can’t tell who is talking. Both sides speak of change and hope, while warning of the dangers of their opponent. A better idea is to tune in to the debates where they will actually discuss their plan to improve the country.

The first debate is this Friday at 9 p.m. I know it’s an inconvenient time slot for our demographic, but this is an important event that only occurs once every four years. Suck it up.

Uninformed voting is worse than not voting at all. An uninformed vote is a lie. You’re pledging that you think the candidate is the most appropriate choice for the presidency, when in actuality you have no idea. Blindly voting will taint the results of the election. So please, if you won’t take the time to develop an opinion on the candidates, don’t vote at all. I know that might be the first time you’ve ever been told that, but I truly believe it is the right decision for someone who knows nothing of either candidate.

Voting involves very important decisions that you will have to make. Is John McCain, a man who has spent nearly 30 years in the Senate truly a “Maverick” that will bring the reform Washington so dearly needs? Does Barack Obama, with only three years in the Senate, have experience enough to lead this nation? Is John McCain too old to be in touch with the conscience of today’s average American? Does Barack Obama have the same vision for the country as your­self? I don’t know if I have the answer, but after some investigating, I do have an opinion that I will show this November. I urge you to do the same.