Know who to vote for: Do research before going to the polls

Students and faculty watched the the final U.S. presidential debate on Oct. 19 in the TVC Lab at University Hall. (Photo: Kait Fruechting)
Students and faculty watched the the final U.S. presidential debate on Oct. 19 in the TVC Lab at University Hall. (Photo: Kait Fruechting)

By The Staff

At Augusta University, students and faculty watched the third U.S. presidential debate together on October 19, 2016.

The College Republicans, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and the Department of Communication held public viewings of the third U.S. presidential debate at sites on campus, which brought diverse groups together for a surreal moment this year. However, we watched the divide of America by watching the third U.S. presidential debate.

Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. Republican. Democratic. Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “puppet.” “Such a ‘nasty woman.’”

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election has been an interestingly stressful, confusing, entertaining yet disappointing one. Many of us know that. Watching the presidential campaign on TV and social media has perhaps drained our brains. Sharing political views to people has created more tension and divided us in the United States of America.

But that does not mean that voting for the new president and vice president of the country is not important to do.

It is very important to realize that as American citizens, whether by naturalization or not, we can make a greater, absolute change on who we want and need as the president of the United States of America.

Our country is extremely diverse with multiple racial and ethnic groups of people that have expressed and shared their cultures to create American culture. Today, America remains a huge “melting pot of cultures.”

American history continues to change with time. For the first time in U.S. history, Democratic U.S. Senator Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president of the United States of America in 2008 – making him the 44th President of the United States of America. He changed the traditionally ideal image of presidents and has made great contributions within his presidency – for example, being the first president to make real use of social media and have the U.S. Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage in the country.

Now for the first time in U.S. history, we have Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as the first female U.S. presidential candidate in any U.S. presidential election. And then, we have Republican candidate and celebrity Donald Trump in the presidential election.

There are many reasons that people, especially us college students, are encouraged to vote in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

One of main issues that affect more than half of college students is student debt, yet it never seems to get much attention. After graduating, the next step is to find a job, but as the unemployment rate fluctuates, we also should be concerned with how the economy is doing. By voting, we can be the change we want to see pertaining to these issues now and in the future generations of college students.

If no one else votes with college students in mind, we can. The policies you vote for today will have a huge influence on your life after college. Do you really want to leave those decisions up to someone else?

We all have equal rights. One of them is the right to vote that many people fought for, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and women. Regardless of our individual demographics, think on the truth of having the privilege to make our voices heard because of the sacrifices of those who came before us.

Other issues such as police brutality and racism have been significantly highlighted within the past couple of years. As a country, if we pride ourselves in being a safe place to live, we can’t be dissatisfied with how the system works especially when there are lives at stake and yet not try to take action in bringing forth change.

Remind yourselves of the First Amendment, which is found in the amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Think about the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to petition the government. To see the importance of voting in this year’s presidential election, understand how important your rights are by just reading the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution for several minutes.

Voting can make a difference. It’s not a waste of time. If you want to make the most of your time, conduct thorough research on the candidates’ perspectives and proposed policies before they’re sitting in the oval office.

But you do not have to vote this year because of your personal beliefs. It is your choice. It’s your free will. However, if you do vote like many of us, voting really can make a difference in this year’s election.

Keep in mind that there is more than voting in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Check out and vote for U.S. Congress members, state government officials, local government officials, county officials, and more on the list.

Research their background information, such as job experiences, goals, interests, and plans. Spend a few days, or even a few hours, on that information to inform yourself and others on who can be trusted.

Election Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 8, but you can vote early at any time. Search on the internet for voting information and locations in your local area. Get your classmates, professors, friends and family members to vote as well.

Do not vote foolishly. Do your homework, before you elect anyone in any hierarchical position on the vote ballot.

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