Catholic Values Column: 5 tips to make the most of election season



Let’s face it. Election season can, for some, be one of the most culturally detested seasons in the country. The outcome of what happens in November will determine if we are to remain a free nation or begin the path to becoming a socialistic state.

On the Republican side, there is a veritable crowd of well-qualified candidates throwing their bid in for president. And even though the field of candidates in the Republican Party is narrowing a little bit, it has still been a record number of candidates involved in the race for president. On the Democrat side, there were only three people running, which quickly narrowed down to two.

This is a time of high energy, vigorous debate and sheer excitement. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of this election season not just tune out and survive it.

First, do yourself the favor of educating yourself. Those on the Republican ticket are respectable in that they are patriotic and appear to be ethically sound.

This, however, could not be said of two on the Democratic side. One is a self-proclaimed socialist who wants to change the very values on which this country was founded. The other is facing potential indictment from the FBI due to the way she erroneously handled confidential national security information.

Due to the weight of what is at stake in the election, you are not only doing a disservice to yourself but to other fellow Americans if you fail to educate yourself on the issues and candidates.

Second, go where the candidates are. While you may not be fond of any of them, have an open mind. Attend rallies and events.

Many people complain about the state of our country and the leadership (or lack of it) that is exhibited in Washington on a daily basis. In order to break this unproductive rut, it is critical that we actually meet these candidates and hear what they have to say. Hear firsthand about their programs and policies and experience the persona they exhibit for their constituency.

Third, experience a campaign in real life, such as volunteering for one. There is no better way to see the true colors of a campaign than working on one. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you will get to see the values espoused by that particular campaign up close and personal. Remember that it is unfair to judge a campaign by a single campaign manager or a cranky volunteer. However, volunteering is a fantastic way to get a more holistic and realistic view of a campaign.

Four, talk about the madness. Engage in dialogue with friends. In the technological age that we live in, it is almost too easy to have pointless spats on social media. The reality of engaging in actual rhetoric face-to-face about a particular candidate or policy is practically lost to this culture. Challenge yourself to discuss politics with family or friends.

While it may be frustrating to hear other points of view, verbally expressing opinions and engaging in meaningful conversation about issues currently under debate will not only help you to gain a clearer understanding of what you believe but also possibly even influence the person with whom you are conversing.

Fifth and finally, make the process fun. Some people are just naturally drawn to politics and find the whole process enjoyable and intriguing. Others find it all to be boring and hypocritical. The solution to a sometimes frustrating election season is to try to make it fun. Some people hold debate watch parties and watch the “political showdown” with friends. Others choose to stay engaged by live Tweeting the debate or posting favorite quotes from the candidates while debating. If you find a way actually to enjoy the process, you will become a more informed citizen and, thus, benefit your community and your country.


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