Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And that's all I have to say about that...

So, you may have noticed we're in election season.  You may not have noticed that I haven't talked about politics or the election and let me assure you that I'm not going to start now :)  While I have very strong thoughts and views and I'm an utter political junkie, I also decided way back when I started this blog that I wouldn't express those views here.  So no worries on that front for those of you who are tired of such things.  However, I did want to bring up a few thoughts tangential to the election in a non-partisan way.     

First, for those of you who aren't registered to vote, now is the time to register.  There are a lot of people who have said it much better than me, but the bottom line is that voting is important and we should all do it.  Plus, it's totally fun and cool :)

Second, if you've moved since you last registered to vote or if your information has changed, make sure your voter registration is up to date.  This is really simple to do -- a lot of states have their voter registration online and you can look yourself up and make sure everything is right.  You don't want to cast your vote only to realize that it might not count cause you information was out of date.

Third, inform yourself.  Don't just believe what you hear, but take a little time to check the facts.  There are plenty of non-partisan groups out there that try to get the bottom of claims, rumors, etc.  One of them is factcheck.org and another is (believe it or not because I had no idea) snopes.com (if you know of others, leave them in the comments).  Just because a candidate or a newscaster or a friend says something doesn't make it true.  Be the cool one who can say "Actually, I looked this up and the truth is...."

Fourth, challenge yourself.  Even though we all love to be proven right, play the devil's advocate to yourself.  When I was in law school I challenged myself to read newspapers that held a bias opposite of my own.  These days I read liberal slanted papers and conservative slanted papers and everything in between.  And I know this sounds like it can take time, but it doesn't have to.  Try getting your news from a variety of outlets to make sure you're getting many different angles.  If your beliefs or feelings are so shallow that they can't be challenged by reading or watching news that might contradict what you think, know or hear, then you need to rethink those beliefs.  To me, the strongest convictions are born from evaluating the facts of both sides and then deciding where you stand; that's why it's important to know the facts and to try to understand the other side's point of view (even if you later reject it).

Firth, remember that there are local elections too!  There's nothing worse than walking into the voting booth with a long and well-reasoned list of reasons to vote for Candidate A for President and then knowing nothing about the senators, city counsel members, judges, etc. that will also have a big impact on your day to day life!   

Sixth, play nice.  Elections can be emotional, they can stir people up.  Remember that other people hold their convictions as tightly as your hold yours.  And if you try to change other people's convictions, be willing to change your own.  And also, don't belive something just because your parents or your friends or your spouse tells you to :)

Finally, enjoy it.  There's a lot to talk about these days!  It's exciting and fun! 

And that's all I have to say about that!


Ronald L. Smith said...

Wow, that's well-said, and I agree with you completely, Carrie. We are all comfortable sharing different things in our blogging/online world. Me, I keep it close to the vest on the political stuff. It can be very incendiary. I think there's one brief blip on my blog of my political views and you'd have to look hard to find it.

Great advice. This election is a very important one. (See, even though I said that, you still don't know where I stand. LOL.)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Excellent post, Carrie. I've stayed away from posting about politics myself. I might break down eventually, but the last time I opened my mouth about my political opinions online, I got so much venom back, it wasn't worth it. Live and learn. ;o)

I totally agree with your points. Especially the ones about making sure to vote and keeping informed. =oD

K J Gillenwater said...

Thanks so much for choosing silence on this topic. Too many times favorite writing blogs of mine have been 'ruined' by bringing politics into it.

If you are an author, you stand to seriously offend and turn off half of your readers. Not really the way to go!

I agree wholeheartedly with the "Get out and vote!" mantra. It's a shame so many people--young and old alike--don't even bother.

Carrie Harris said...

Yo, Carrie. Just wanted to let you know that I gave you an I Love Your Blog award in my latest post. It's one of those pass-it-along things in case you wanted to play. :)

Because, hey, I love your blog. Zombies plus person named Carrie equals fabulous, eh?