Be informed on political issues instead of voting for your preferred party
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 22:02
It really does not matter which side of today’s political divide you stand on, straight ticket voting is a very poor method of selecting how to vote on a particular issue.
The reason for this is simple; there are bad apples in every bunch. If you find that political party X best represents your political values, it simply means that most of the time, you agree with their party platform.
However, this is not sufficient reason to merely defer to their opinion, especially when their opinions on specific issues fail to line up consistently.
Let me illustrate with an example. It was not too long ago that the Patriot Act was the hot button issue of the day.
For those who need a brief reminder, the Patriot Act was a piece of legislation that authorized certain government agencies to forgo the process of seeking a warrant for wire taps and other surveillance methods in the name of national security.
This came about in the height of public awareness and fear over the threat of terrorist attacks.
With 9/11 fresh on everyone’s mind, fear motivated the passage of this bill.
At the time, Republicans advocated the use of the Patriot Act while Democrats largely rallied against it. This was an issue that was decided entirely along party lines.
Republicans claimed that while it was a negative impact on the civil liberties of the average citizen, it was worth it because of the potential to save American lives.
The war cry of the Democratic party was a quotation by Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
For purposes of the point I intend to make, it doesn’t matter where you stand on this particular issue, though you should know where you stand in general.
The question here is: Is it better to sacrifice the liberty of the public to ensure their safety?
On the Patriot Act, Republicans said yes while Democrats said no.
Here is where voting entirely along party lines gets you into trouble; they completely switched places when the flurry of gun control debates reached the House and Senate floors.
Democrats are now saying that we must impose restrictions on certain types of firearms to increase safety and promote a sense of security amongst the public.
Republicans claim that we cannot restrict the rights of the many on the basis that restricting said rights might make for a more secure society.
This is why it is important to be informed on the issues that face all of us.
Simply knowing what your preferred representative party thinks will not suffice.