Voting is our most important right and responsibility as American citizens. There is no need to completely revisit your American history lessons, but one thing that we should never lose sight of is that a lot of blood was lost fighting for your right to cast your vote. Do not disappoint those souls.
On a brighter note, being involved in the system is fun. Use it to bring forth a shell breaking catalyst of passion inside of you that you never knew existed. You can express your voice on any number mediums. Join fun debates. Earn respect from people you thought would never take notice of you, and meet some amazing people yourself along the way.
Here on some tips to enjoying the election season versus it being the endless, torturous, monotonous black hole of time that a lot of people seem to think it is.
1) If you’re just starting to become politically active, get your hands on a sample ballot. I receive one every election, and I assume most other people do as well. If you do not get one in the mail, look online. You’ll be blasted with advertisements for the big races, but you may have to do your own digging around for the pros and cons of candidates fighting for titles you’ve never heard of. Should you care about these positions? Maybe, maybe not, but you should always familiarize yourself with the people running. Find out who supports them, and why. Where is their money coming from? This will often clue you in to their ideals. Politicians often using these positions as stepping-stones on their path to world domination. Easier to try to stop them now than later.
2) Sharpen your debate skills. Debates are not arguments. Do not waste your time arguing with anyone because no one wins. Debating is an art, literally. If you train yourself well you’ll be able to go toe-to-toe with nearly anyone. Your ability to ‘win’ is contingent on you learning about the issues, and never losing your cool. If you read a newspaper today, you probably already have enough knowledge to debate anyone and leave them stuttering. If someone can ‘beat’ you, or you cannot make a good case for your stance, this is not a bad thing. It is a learning experience. Use the opportunity to further educate yourself on the issues. Regardless, at the end of the conversation, shake your opponents hand and wish them the best (or something equivalent depending on the medium). Do not risk harming relationships with family or friends just to make a point; conversation should be enlightening not alienating.
3) Should a nominee really capture your attention, go to one of his or her campaign stops. The energy surrounding these events is as intense as any event you can attend. The crowds will be buzzing, flags waving, music blaring. The idea of going to listen to a speech may sound like torture now, but once you’re there and see everything going on, you will be glad you went. Chances are you can grab some fun merchandise, snag an autograph, have your baby kissed, and all that jazz as well.
4) This is a big one. Go and actually vote! If you hate lines and waiting you can always do this in advance by early voting or voting from your couch via absentee ballot, but for me nothing is like being there on Tuesday. Treat it like a sporting event. Wear all your swag, paint your face, show your spirit! Bring a fun sign promoting your favorite candidate and wave at cars for a couple of hours. I’ve even seen people tailgating!
5) Every decent sized town will have an official campaign headquarters election party, often held in ballrooms at hotels or in convention centers. Check now to see if this will require registration, or a fee, but this is unquestionably the place to be on election night. Win or lose it will be an evening of anticipation and excitement you won’t forget. This will also be a great venue to make connections in the event you would like to work with a campaign in the future. Also a nice spot to spot local celebrities.
Whether you do all of these things, or you simply vote by mail, don’t become disillusioned with democracy. An informed voter population is the fuel that keeps the system running, if we do not actively engage we will have no one to blame but ourselves.