Political opinions just out of reach

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As opinions editor, I fully realize that this section has not really addressed many political issues this year — an election year.
A couple of people, that I know of, have complained about the lack of political pieces in the opinions section this year.
There have been a few political opinions spread out over a couple of issues, but I agree that there has not been a strong enough political presence in this section.
I sincerely apologize for the lack of political pieces, but I did not feel comfortable writing the political pieces myself.
Without writing the pieces myself, I had no way of remedying the situation without berating my politically-minded friends. They have lives, too.
Just as a general comment, if there is something you want to see in the opinions section, write about it! You don’t have to be a staff writer for the cluster in order to submit something. If you send a piece to opinions@mercercluster.com, chances are you will end up printed in the paper.
So far, I have avoided doing a political opinions piece. I had originally planned on avoiding doing one all together, but I think it’s necessary for me to give reasons why I didn’t want to write one.
You see, I have been living under a rock since our last presidential election. In high school, I was very well informed about what was going on in the political sphere because my teachers were required to keep us informed.
I knew who was running, I knew what each candidate was running for, I even had an opinion about who I would vote for if I had been old enough to cast a ballot.
Fast forward four years, I have no idea what is going on in the political world. Maybe I’m being an irresponsible American, but I doubt I’m alone when I say that I’m lost.
I kind of equate this scenario to falling asleep in class or completely zoning out towards the beginning of class and then, near the end, your professor calls on you to answer a question. She expects an answer, and you have no idea what is going on.
I feel this way towards the upcoming election. I zoned out near the beginning, four years ago, and all of a sudden I’m expected to come up with a response. I have to answer the ultimate question, “Who do I want to be America’s next top candidate?”
Ok, I kid about the whole next top model reference, but in all seriousness, I have no idea who is running. I could give you my best guess from having read various facebook statuses or random news articles, but I wouldn’t be very confident in my answer.
I know Obama is running again. No surprise there. However, I have no idea what ideals and plans he is campaigning this go around. That ignorance, my friend, is a problem.
The upcoming election is making me feel panicked. Kind of like when I haven’t even started studying for a test, and the test date is quickly approaching. This late in the game, how do I choose who I want to vote for?
I don’t really watch tv, but I’m assuming those ads are starting to pop up where celebrities and the like are asking us to get out there and vote.
Well, sure, I can show up on election day, submit a ballot, and be on my way. But, an uninformed vote is a vote that does not necessarily aid the country in becoming better. Ideally, we should have a president that best represents our personal values. In turn, the country will then reflect our personal values.
Of course, everyone doesn’t have the same personal values. So, how do we have productive conversations with each other about who we want to represent us for the next four years?
Do we all gather in groups where we all share the same ideals and decide which candidate lines up with those ideals the best? Sure, that could work, but at the same time the idea seems preposterous.
To make an informed decision, we should keep other people’s values that are different from our own in mind. Their opinion counts, too. Plus, we should have discussions about how our values line up with values that may disagree with ours.
This scenario, however, brings about an interesting issue. What are our values? We’re adults now. Do we blindly adopt our parents’ values? Do we latch onto our friends’ values because they seem nice?
Personally, I’m still trying to decide what I value and how to define those values in a nice, neat way. I don’t think I will ever be able to, but my struggle is a real one.
Our president, who ever we, as a nation, choose, will not represent each of our values in a nice, neat way. We may love him in some ways, and strongly dislike him in others. But before he even enters the role of president, we should already know what to expect — generally.
I missed the political debate the other night on account of I’m a tired college student and fell asleep, but even my friends who managed to watch the political debate didn’t really watch it. Many paid rapt attention, but mostly for completing a game of Bingo or to one up each other in another type of drinking game.
As college students, we are at the prime of our lives and can make a definitive impact on how our country runs. Many of us, myself included, throw this opportunity away just because we are uninformed.
For those of you who are informed, I applaud you. You are a better citizen than I am. It’s not too incredibly late to become informed. The election season is upon us, embrace it. Become informed and vote!

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