2020 is an exciting year with a lot going on in The United States in regard to the structure of the country. The Census is taking place at the beginning of April, and during the rest of the year, there are votes, debates and speeches leading up to the big presidential election in November.
For many students here at BYU-Idaho, this may be the first time being eligible to vote in the election or even being familiar with what the political candidates stand for. With this new opportunity comes new responsibility. There is a responsibility to participate.
We at the Scroll believe in making educated decisions to reflect our hopes for the leadership of our country.
According to NPR, in the 2016 presidential election only about 6 in 10 people who could vote did. The results of that election were decided only by a difference of less than 80,000 people.
With nearly half of eligible United States citizens not participating in the past election, there is no telling what would have or could have happened with increased participation.
It is our responsibility as citizens to vote for the leadership of the country. Voting is the way to instigate change in the United States. If people don’t vote, their opinions get silenced far too often.
Not only is it vital for United States citizens to participate in voting, it is also important for them to not participate blindly. There is a responsibility to become informed to make a decision that can be supported by reason.
Even though the Idaho primaries are behind us, it is still important to be prepared to participate in the presidential elections in November. The race has been and will be constantly changing, and there is a very good chance that a well-informed person will think differently in November when it is time to vote than they do right now.
While reaching the age of 18 and claiming the title of “adult” is exciting, it is important to form opinions and act upon them as adults as well.
Too often, in the culture we are a part of, individuals make decisions based on opinions of parents who have influenced them as they grew up. While listening to the wisdom of parents is important, there comes a time when individual political opinions are necessary.
Voting for who your parents tell you they are voting for, or who they tell you that you should vote for isn’t the way to go. While it may seem like the easier way, becoming educated about different politicians’ beliefs and values isn’t brain surgery.
Simply reading news articles, watching debates on channels like ABC and NBC and reviewing politician’s path to how they came to be a presidential candidate can be a task that takes a few minutes a day.
It is also not wise to just select a candidate based on the political party you affiliate with. Politicians aren’t picture-perfect cutouts of all of the positive aspects of their declared party. Often times, political leaders have a variety of values that can fit on both sides of the spectrum.
There is no doubt that people have opinions, and effective as passive-aggressive social media rants might be, an even more effective way to have your opinion shared is by voting and being a part of selecting who gets to make decisions regarding our country.
This year has many, many opportunities to share opinions via voting and supporting candidates in their campaign. While the presidential election may not be until November, getting started now on becoming educated enough to make an informed decision is a wise idea.
A news release from the First Presidency on Oct. 9, 2014 said that electing political officials is a duty and a privilege. They also urged members of the church to take the time necessary to educate themselves to make an informed decision when voting.
There isn’t another feeling that is quite as empowering as thinking for ourselves and making a decision that we have come to on our own.
There are some great mostly unbiased news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The New York Times and Associated Press News. These outlets do a great job of delivering the facts of what is going on in our country. Take this opportunity to look to a few different news sources, read up on all of the presidential candidates and, when the time comes, vote.