amenThis has bugged me for a long time and it's one of those things where you risk being "high and mighty" if you preach to your friends about it, but sometimes it's more important to take a stand than to save face. So, here I go...
I don't know if any of you have had the same experience I have, but almost all of my peers are going to vote today (which is great!). The problem is: a great deal of my peers cannot tell you the basic tenants of the Democratic or Republican parties, nor do they understand the differences between the parties.
When I ask someone "Why are you a Democrat?" or "Why are you a Republican?" I'm incredibly disheartened when they say, "Well... my parents told me to vote for X!" or "Well... Jimmy is and he's smart, so I am!"
Way to think for yourselves, people.
Now, I understand that each household has its own culture and that politically involved parents for either party can instill a sense of disdain in their children towards the other political party... but all it takes is a little bit of time and effort on the Internet in order to cast even a partially informed decision... a decision that is your own, not that of your parents.
The way I look at it, generations of men and women fought and died for our freedom to vote so that we could participate in a Democratic Republic. Sure, we have the freedom not to vote as well as the freedom to vote for Santa Clause if we'd like to... I just think that's incredibly irresponsible and disrespectful. In my opinion it says a lot about your character - or should I say lack of character - if you make such a decision.
So, I'm begging all of you today to set aside your pre-conceived notions, preferences, plans, and loyalties. Open up your mind and do a little bit of research so that you can say more than, "Well... I like McBama! Republicrats rule and I always vote Republicrat!"
Give me a reason why. Give me a policy description. Give me some substance. Give me something that affects you. Give me something that you're passionate about... don't just give me useless fodder like "Obama is such a great speaker!" or "McCain is decorated!"
Hitler was both, yet he rose to power with horrendous and hateful policies because people didn't think for themselves and take a stand. They just followed the useless masses.
So, please, today... I beg you... cast aside the fact that you've always voted Republican or Democrat and take a moment to look into both candidates' individual policies. Look into their beliefs. Look into their record. They differ wildly. Do you honestly know how they differ?
Make no mistake about it: both men want what's best for this country and want to lead it into an era of prosperity. They agree on the end result but differ on the means. They've both been painted into horrible corners and people have bought into both sides. However, McCain is not a war-hawk and Obama is not a terrorist. Neither are hell-bent on destruction.
Both men are remarkable and inspiring leaders with individual strengths and accomplishments as well as individual weaknesses and pitfalls... after today, one set of strengths and weaknesses will be leading this country and influencing the world... the good news is WE get to decide who it will be.
That's a pretty big responsibility and decision. Please take it seriously.