Assmus: My New Year’s resolution is to become more politically aware

Thoughtful Consideration

January is well under way, and most people are either doing well on their New Year’s resolutions or have already given them up, if they made any at all. Instead of doing the clichéd eat healthy or exercise more goals, one resolution that everyone should consider is to pay attention to politics. It’s finally 2016, and it’s a presidential election year. As an informed college student, it is important to pay attention to the candidates and to vote in the upcoming primary elections, as well as the presidential election in November.

Despite your political affiliations or opinions on the different candidates, everyone can agree that the debates and the election coverage so far has been dizzying. It can be discouraging to pay attention and easy to think that your vote doesn’t matter when you don’t necessarily agree with any candidate. However if you look closely, you might find that you have more things in common with one than you realized. Instead of just paying attention to the media coverage of what candidates say and how they interpret their actions, look into their politics and their campaigns.

Being a college student is difficult, with many school and extracurricular obligations. However it is time to start paying attention because this is one of the biggest elections of the year and among the most influential ways to be an involved citizen and adult. It is hard to tune into every televised debate and keep track of exactly how many people are still in the running going into the primaries. But, even reading a summary of the debate or tuning in for a little bit for each political party will help one make an informed decision.

Now is the time to register to vote or to make sure you know the process of getting an absentee ballot. Although the primaries are in March and that can seem far away, soon enough it will be spring break and then the week before the actual election day. While it is still the beginning of the semester it should be easier to look into voting and registering. Additionally, now is the time to start thinking about the elections and who you want for our next President.

One of the easiest ways to be politically involved is through voting—not just filling out a ballot, but making an informed decision. Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” As college students getting a higher education, we should all take the responsibility to be informed about candidates and cast an informed vote that is not based on biased media reporting.

So personally, my New Year’s resolution is to pay closer attention to the elections, especially since the Republican National Convention is rapidly approaching right in our city, July 18-21. The Ohio primary election is already on March 15, with many other states before this date or soon after. One website that can help sort out all of the different candidates and their views is Voting is not a difficult task, but finding out the information about the candidates can be. It is necessary, though, if we want to have a say in our government and responsibility as an adult and educated citizen.

Abby is a graduate student and hopes that everyone is finding ways to stay warm.