Labor Day marks the unofficial kickoff to the stretch run of the U.S. presidential election. To say that people are tuned off about their choices of the two major party presidential candidates could be the largest understatement since a teacher told Albert Einstein he wasn’t very smart. She is viewed as untrustworthy by 59% of respondents in a recent pole. He is at 60%. Never have the two major candidates been viewed by so many as untrustworthy. Voters are perplexed, polarized, fearful and now maybe indifferent. People may want change, but not the messenger. People may want experience, but not this kind of experience.
So what should you do when you walk into your precinct to vote? Hold your nose and pick one of the above? Close your eyes and pin the tail on the ballot? Play the children’s school yard counting game of ‘Eeny, Meeny, Miny moe’? How about neither of the big two? Yes, there are other choices one can make. There will be as many as 20 candidates on your presidential ballot, the number depends on the election laws in your state. So you do have a choice, maybe as many as 20 choices.
Could this be a year that a third party candidate catches on? I believe it is a big stretch. Some political operatives say that voting for anyone other than the two major party candidates is a wasted vote. With this type of logic, your vote is wasted if your choice is not elected. There is no difference if your candidate finishes as first loser, third loser or ends up in last place. No vote is a wasted vote.
We have real issues that need to be addressed by responsible, compassionate, respectful, and visionary leaders. This election is a very important and you, the citizen, cannot be aloof and sit on the sidelines. I understand the fear and frustration we are all feeling, it is no laughing matter. The real issues facing our country, like; national security and defense, terrorism, immigration reform, the economy, rebuilding the infrastructure, racial tensions and equality, veteran affairs, and Supreme Court appointees are all important. In fact, it may be the most important of your life.
So how can you learn more about the candidates?
As a society, we have never had more resources at our fingers as we have today. As such it is easier than ever to be informed on the candidates and their positions. Most media outlets have a predisposed political bias, so it very important to obtain your information from a wide cross-section of media. Read or listen to opposing viewpoints to create balance or to reaffirm your current thoughts. Be Informed is the second of my 7 Actions of Highly Effective Advocates as listed in my book of the same name. Here are a few areas you can look to for diverse content:
- Newspapers – both local and national (Wall Street Journal & USA Today)
- Television networks – ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, PBS, CSPAN, Telemundo, etc.
- National Public Radio or other
- Online Blogs and Podcasts
- Watch the presidential debates:
- First Debate – Monday, September 26
- Vice Presidential Debate – Tuesday, October 4
- Second Debate – Sunday, October 9
- Final Debate – Wednesday, October 19
THIS is YOUR vote. Vote for who you think can do the best job for the country as a whole, not just for you. We as American voters have been selfish for too long, we have been the “Me, Me, Me Society.” It is time to cast a vote for America.
The banter and bluster of the major candidates and their campaign surrogates hasn’t been pretty.
As citizens we cannot walk away from our responsibility and duty.
As citizens we cannot be aloof.
As citizens we cannot sit on sidelines.
What will happen if you do not engage and vote for president? You will have handed your responsibility, duty and most importantly your vote to others, who will determine your future.
I will do my duty – even if I have to hold my nose!