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Vote with the mind, not with the heart

With the presidential election less than a week away, relentless campaigning and political discourse will soon be calming down. By now we have seen the advertisements, watched the debates, listened to the
speeches and been force-fed political discourse.

While all those things may be useful, the best way for Americans to make their vote truly count may be to forget all of it.

Instead of basing ones vote on increasingly hostile political banter, voters should take it upon themselves to do their own research on the issues and candidates in the election.
Every voter has an obligation to fulfill Tuesday one that is literally the essence of our democracy. While it may seem preachy to remind Americans what democracy is, its undeniable that many people will head to the voting booth without actually learning the platforms of the candidates or even understanding what the
amendments truly mean.

Still others dont go to the polls at all, choosing not to exercise their right to vote. In 2008, 58.2 percent of voting-age Americans cast a ballot for president, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Unfortunately, the way the political environment is presented to us makes it easy for political campaigns to appeal to the pathos or emotions of voters. The problem with this is that political discourse like campaign ads and political pundits and their commentary can skew a reasonable voters perception without having any basis on fact.

For example, when President Barack Obama said that former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney said, I would have let General Motors go bankrupt, he is misstating Romneys comment and making him out to be a ruthless
businessman, when the scenario is much more complicated. Similarly, one of Romneys ads states, (Obama) sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China, completely disregarding that Italian company Fiats merger with Chrysler helped the company become profitable again and had nothing to do with Fiats already-existing factories in China.

The issue is that rhetoric like this is often the only source of political information that people receive. Yet the information truly needed to cast an insightful vote is out there.

Anyone who plans to vote Nov. 6 should set aside at least 30 minutes or an hour this weekend to do some research. TiVo Honey Boo Boo or take the half time segment during a football game to do some research. Read through all of the candidates platforms and take the time to completely understand what the amendments mean. Forget about the how the hostile political environment has made you feel, and educate yourself to make an informed decision when casting your ballot.