If you live in the United States, then you likely know that there is a big election coming up in just a couple weeks. If not, then you have been living under a rock somewhere in never never land. As the US looks to elect another president, the debate between the candidates has turned into a slanderous campaign of who can invent or fabricate the most lies about the other. The presidential debates, rather than being an open forum to discuss important issues that impact the lives of each and every citizen, to inform each and every citizen in the United States, have been pivoted to be a platform for candidates to bully and muscle one another so that an overall winner can be named by political agencies.

Unfortunately, since according to a Reuters survey, nearly 54% of all Americans vote based on television commercials and things they hear on the news or on Facebook – the United States has become a society of uninformed citizens, electing officials based on little credence for the truth. And for many the question becomes, “Is voting really that important?”

The frustration of uncovering the truth and separating fact from fiction has become in fact, so difficult with liberal media and multi billion dollar smear campaigns designed to psychology sway people to one political party or the other – that many people are becoming afraid to vote at all. This combined with the electoral college in the United States which seems to defy democracy by enabling a candidate without the popular vote to still get elected – has many people saying, “Why Bother?”

There are still many reasons that you should vote in local and national elections. For one thing, it’s easy to sit back and complain about the way things are – especially when you don’t vote. Voting gives you some ownership, and psychologists even believe that people who vote are more involved in their communities, and are more vested in the important issues that face each of us. This vested-ness helps people become more proactive in making changes that they feel will be positive for the country as a whole. Voters are also less afraid, and more committed to their causes and are a major force in implementing and delivering change. In other words, they voted – which means they are responsible in electing a candidate, and they will do more to force leadership to follow through with the promises they made to the locales and country as a whole.

And even in US elections, one vote can surely make a difference – even with the Electoral College in place. For instance, in battleground states that are almost evenly divided along party lines, one or two votes one way or the other, can mean the difference in a candidate getting the electoral votes in that state or not. This year, political analysts believe that many states in the United States will come down to margins of 100 voters or less. So yes, your vote still does matter. Secondly, voting helps keep you involved in your country.

Additionally, it is important to realize that in many parts of the world, the people don’t have a say. Voting is a right, and a gift of democracy. If the general public resists voting and voter turnout becomes lower and lower, the tides will change to complete government control, which is totally against the values passed down from the Founding Fathers.

Additionally voting represents YOUR voice. Sure, it is difficult to understand all the details of each candidate running for election. This is why it is recommended that you, as a registered voter – decide which issues affect you the most, and then do your research to see which candidate your values are more in line with. For some people, the 2012 issue of small enterprise is extremely important. For another, it is rising gas prices or the availability of health care. The bottom line is that each of us has a different hot button issue that stands in the forefront of our minds and lives each day. It is this issue, combined with others of importance, where we should strive to find a candidate that will help us individually achieve our goals.

In order to be a qualified, and conscientious voter, you must do some legwork. Try to find non-partisan articles, information, research and information so that you can read the straight facts without all of the rhetoric that is too often tied to republican versus democratic elections. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to call or email your local representative. The more informed you are, the more accurately you can vote for the things that are important in your life.

You also have to be willing to see the pre-emptive general election games played by both political parties as nothing more than menial, undermining games. If you hear something about a candidate that upsets you, realize that their words could have been twisted around and distorted to fit the smear campaign. Rather than rely on normal venues of information gathering, be involved by researching things yourself. When you can remove yourself from the ‘game’ of the election process, you can truly begin to see things for what they are. In no other arena in life are there more mistruths, and misguided information meant to manipulate the American people than in elections.

When the United States was founded under democracy, one of the most implemental changes that took place was the populace vote. Many men and women fought hard for this historical right to be granted to the people, so that government could be held accountable for its actions – and so that the people, meaning YOU and yours, could be represented with each and every election both small and large. Honoring this tradition is not just your right, but your responsibility as a citizen.

In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt,

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

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