Monday, September 17, 2012

Election 2012 Facts

As a teacher, I believe everyone should have a good education.  Part of that education is being an informed citizen, especially in an election year.  Unfortunately, being well-informed is becoming more and more difficult.  It seems that many believe if you tell a lie often enough, it will become the truth.  So lies have been repeated over and over.

Because there is so much misinformation in this election, you have to try to sort it all out for yourself.  You cannot rely on what you hear from politicians or from the media.  You can't base your decisions on what you hear from any one group that may have a special interest.  I don't even think you should listen to your friends or relatives because they have probably been influenced by what they hear from politicians, the media, and special interest groups.  You have to check out the information for yourself!

So many issues in this election are related to one another.  When a group lobbies for or against certain regulations, is it getting something in return?  When someone or something donates large sums of money to a candidate, political party, or Super PAC, you need to consider why.  Will they expect the candidate, if he or she wins, to pass legislation that benefits the donor?  Would this legislation be something with which you agree?  When you watch a political ad, is it propaganda?  Is it factual?  Is it designed to make you emotional or is it telling you truthful information?  How can you tell? 

One way to be informed is to watch television news.  But don't watch just one channel.  Watch every news channel you can.  Listen to all points of view. (I's difficult.)  Watch MSNBC.  Watch FOXNews.  Watch CNN.  Watch PBS.  Watch your local news.  Watch them all.  But after you've watched them, check the facts. Not everything these channels broadcast may be true, so you've got to check for yourself.  Several sources for fact-checking are, PolitiFactThe Fact Checker, and You've Earned a Say (AARP).  But be careful! Occasionally even the fact-checkers have been wrong.

Read newspaper and magazine articles.  Again, read varying points of view and then check the facts.  If you receive political emails, you should go to Snopes to verify the information.  Most of the emails I've seen are full of lies.

Read the actual documents put out by the political parties, by the candidates, by the House of Representatives, by the Senate, and by the White House.  Then check the facts!  A few of the actual documents can be found by following these links:

Discover how your Members of Congress vote on the issues:

Read the documents upon which our country was founded:

The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution
The Bill of Rights
Amendments to the Constitution (11-27)
The Federalist Papers

And last, but certainly not least, know what your voting rights are.  Voting ID requirements and polling places may have changed.  A good place to start is Can I Vote?

What I'm most concerned about is that an informed voter in this next election.  My other concern is that you actually vote in the next election.  Your vote counts.  It's important.  It's a right you must exercise.

The election is Tuesday, November 6, 2012.  Be knowledgeable and VOTE!