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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Challenge assumptions, party lines on Election Day”

Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Green Party, Tea Party, Independents. What party is best for America, what party is best for you and who can we trust to inform us of what is right? With so many decisions and so many people thinking vastly varied things, many of us, myself included, are most often woefully underprepared to make educated decisions come Election Day.

Over the past couple of weeks, the polarity of Tucson, and indeed all of America, has been on full display. To a certain extent, we are witnessing something that happens every election year. How can so many people think so differently and be so divided?

Most of the time when we don’t know, we go with what we do know, and for many of us, this is what we’ve been taught, what we’ve been raised as, what our environment dictates; the left or the right, liberal or conservative. Whether the politician is a swindler, a cheat, immoral or just unintelligent we pay little attention and continue to vote along party lines. Biased? Absolutely, but it’s what we know, it’s what we’ve grown accustomed to and it won’t change until we start thinking differently.

We’ve heard it many times, yet it is rarely employed as a viable way of discerning candidates: Pick the person, not the party. We rarely do. But we really should.

Party lines run deeper in some people than religion. In fact, politics are followed so fanatically in a cult-like manner by a few that would make religious fundamentalists look tame. The questions we should ask ourselves need to be less along these lines and more about who these candidates are. As is always true with informed decisions, the more you know, the better off you are. We must look past what we have grown accustomed to doing — casting our vote for a party that we think we identify with.

We can’t be satisfied with the production of any candidate of any party; we must consistently discern our own preconceived notions of party lines and continue to gather information independently of those notions. We can’t be content to watch Fox News or MSNBC and follow every whim of their coverage to conclude what is right. We need a variety of sources and a variety of people to give us knowledge, in essence, a wide base of experience within politics to guide us.

Essentially, we need to make ad-hoc decisions on an election-to-election basis, not by making predetermined choices based on parties. Sure, for some instances you may identify with a party platform and vote based upon that. Fine. But don’t confuse a party platform you support with a party ideology you follow blindly.

Make no mistake — government is still in charge and they will still do anything to stay in power. That hasn’t changed from ancient times and it never will. Don’t we want smart people with character in power, regardless of party? Maybe, maybe not; it’s something we have to balance against our values, but we must continue to challenge our sedentary thinking.

Let’s vote smart, and that means sometimes rethinking what was formerly a forgone conclusion, biased indeed, but not blinded anymore.

 

— Brett Haupt is a journalism junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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