2012 US Election Year

We are now into the 2012 election season. This means that we are going to see a barrage of information and misinformation from all corners, most of it expressed with the intent to influence your vote. Possibly with true and factual information, possibly with false or distorted information, but there will be many attempts over the upcoming months to change both how and whether you vote.

I have written previously about the necessity of making your voice heard and about the various tools for understanding the political process. I have also talked previously about using POPVOX as a tool for making sure that your voice is heard, and it continues to become one of the better ways to get in touch with your congressional representatives over specific bills.

Right now I am going to issue a plea. Even if you feel disenfranchised by the current political process, even if all you do is vote a straight third-party ticket, to get out and make your voice heard this year. That can be in the form of voting directly. It can be in the form of contacting your representatives with tools such as POPVOX and Open Congress. It can be in terms of time spent volunteering for or donating to campaigns. Or it can be in the form of simply keeping informed on current issues and talking about it, even if you don’t vote and never write your representatives.

Elections in general–and presidential elections in specific–are very influential for the course of our country over the upcoming years. If nothing else, it implies the appointment of Supreme Court justices, who then can influence our policy on issues such as freedom of religion and the right to privacy for generations to come. There have also been bills proposed this year to either hamstring or at least substantially weaken the EPA’s regulatory powers. I will not tell people how to vote on these specific issues, but they are things that matter to me.

Yet the primary issue that concerns me is not simply the matter of the government’s direction, but rather that people be informed in their views. Or, for that matter, in their disgust if they feel fed up with everyone. I believe that we–as a country–need to move past the false equivalency. That we need to avoid demagoguery and encourage rational discourse.

The best inoculation against the rampant misinformation and propaganda is to stay informed. The more people who do that, I believe that the better things will turn out in the long run.

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2 Responses to 2012 US Election Year

  1. Flower Power says:

    *ovation*

    Yes, 2012 is the year to get involved and get our voices out there. The protest of SOPA/PIPA demonstrated how we can change a situation–peacefully, through rational discourse and speaking up.

    And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. A democratic government is supposed to be is directed *by the people*, not the other way around. We have power in votes, in voices. Because of the Internet, voters are more informed than ever. This is an amazing turning point in human history. Let’s use our knowledge and power for the good toward a progressive, enlightened society that truly upholds a vision of freedom and human rights.

    Here is my own plea: I ask younger people not to take their freedoms and rights for granted but to keep fighting the good fight–peacefully, with advocacy and knowledge. We’re dealing with a generational divide here, with an older generation that fears the future and wants to put a lid on basic human emotions and needs.

    There’s a saying that freedoms must be fought for every 20 years. Young ones, we who have been keeping the light of democracy, progressiveness, and rationality alive need your help!

  2. Flower Power says:

    To add to my previous reply….reproductive health rights are also under fire this year, including Roe v. Wade and access to birth control. The Women are Watching organization is tracking anti-choice legislature in each state.

    http://www.womenarewatching.org/

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