Voting is one of the most cherished freedoms any living person can have. It’s also a huge responsibility because whether you like it or not, who you send to represent you and the actions they take are also on your hands.
Voting for a war mongering idiot who lied to the American public to get us into a trillion dollar war with Iraq and the innocent blood spilled in America’s name during that war is also on the hands of every voter who voted for George Bush in the 2000 and 2004 elections.
Here in Michigan we have a number of crucial elections to consider next week in the November 2nd, election. Which ever political party that gains the majority in our state legislator will be responsible for drawing up new district lines, and if that power if left to the Republican party, most of Michigan and Detroit can expect to be left out in the cold once again while a small part of Oakland County reaps the rewards.
We Michigan voters have a responsibility to understand who the politicians we are voting for are, and what they stand for. Merely listening to sensationalized campaign commercials built on fear, lies, and the public’s disgust with government is a great way into being tricked to vote for someone not in your best interest.
A great place to begin your duty as a voter is at Votesmart.org. Votesmart.org is a website ran by non-profit folks who merely record a politician’s voting record, public writings and speeches. You can type in the name of your candidate and if they have a voting record it will be there for your viewing, so you can see what the candidate really stands for and not what he/she tells you they stand for.
Since third party candidates usually aren’t financed by international corporations, finding information about them in your local news is probably not going to happen. In order to see the full slate of voters on the Michigan November 2nd, ballot you must visit, http://www.uselections.com/mi/mi.htm. If the candidate has a website it will be linked to from that webpage, which is another tool to learn more about the candidates you are going to vote for.
From there you may want to check your candidate out further at, opensecrets.org, another non-profit that reports on any campaign money received by a candidate. Unfortunately the supreme court’s recent ruling to not enforce disclosure laws have made tracking money in politics merely impossible, opensecrets.org, still does a great job in reporting what is known. If your candidate is being financed by big business you’ll need to ask yourself if what is good for big business also good for you and your family – and the answer is probably no.
Another tip for voting is that there are more than just two political parties. If you are unsatisfied with America’s current course finding who to blame is easy, the Republican and Democratic parties, they are after all the only two parties running Congress for the past hundred years. Voting for one side or the other is reckless and unproductive, learning about third party candidates is the quickest way to finding a candidate you can trust and a candidate that is most likely in your best interest.
Voting can be fun and an empowering freedom we should not take for granted, Michigan is at a crucial cross-road, we can pretend that voting in a Republican or Democrat is going to fix the giant mess the Republicans and Democrats have gotten us into – or we can begin to take real steps into changing Michigan for the better by giving third party candidates the chance they deserve to represent us.