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Voting with knowledge

Danielle Waddell

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Upon reading Kyle Simpson’s latest column, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by a small truth he stated earlier in the column.

Many students, as well as adults, are disinterested in politics and getting involved in electing the officials who run our state and country. While Simpson highlighted how many states make it difficult for out-of-state students to vote at all, I want to discuss why it is that newer generations seem so reluctant to get involved in the political world.

I must first confess that I am one of those disinterested students and made uncomfortable by conversations concerning politics, elections and the future of our nation. While part of this can be connected to my pure dislike for major decision making, the majority of this disregard for political conversation can be related to my ignorance in the field.

As a senior in high school I, like many American students, took government and economics. We learned about past presidents and their parties, watched some debates and  had our own fake trials, but what we didn’t learn was how to choose a candidate to vote for.

This may sound ignorant, and the politically knowledgeable may be rolling their eyes at me, but for someone with no political background whatsoever, it’s a difficult hoop to jump through, and I know I’m not the only one in this situation.

Along with decreasing restrictions on student voting as Simpson suggested, I support the implementation of more instruction on the finer details of politics. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking for someone to tell me who’s right and who’s wrong in the upcoming 2016 election. I don’t want anyone to come teach me what stances and ideals I want our president or other elected officials to have. What we need is a political knowledge that goes deeper than “he/she is a nasty Democrat/stupid Republican.” What I need – what we need – is to know what exactly these candidates are rooting for beyond the facades they build up and what is going to be the most beneficial for this country.

We can’t expect our students or their parents, grandparents or future children, to make intelligent voting decisions based solely off of a candidate’s party affiliation. We need to know what it actually means to be a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian, a whatever else kind of party there is, and vote according to that knowledge.

Our nation won’t see any change until we educate those of us who need it, and empower them with the information necessary to make an informed political decision. It is knowledge that changes the world; ignorance only stands in the way.

Danielle Waddell is sophomore majoring in journalism. Her column runs weekly.

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Voting with knowledge