Keep an open mind on candidates

Published 9:36 pm Monday, October 31, 2016

Please vote.

It is essential to exercise your right, because grumbling under your breath about the candidates won’t solve anything.

We’ve all seen the headlines, videos and soundbites. But, do you really know the candidates?

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It’s easy to hear what the media and social media broadcasts and make a decision that way. But, that’s only a fraction of information we need as voters to make an informed decision. We must take it upon ourselves to do the research on our own.

Take the time out to look up their political platforms and sit and really listen to what the candidates are saying in their debates and interviews. Find your information from the horse’s mouth, as my father would say. When you do this, you are getting the information unfiltered by political agendas and biases and news angles.

We can’t keep one ear open to one candidate and remain closed off to the other because we don’t like what they have to say.

This is dangerous, because we are only holding one side of the coin to the light. By doing this, we absorbing what we want to hear and turning a deaf ear to anything else. We have to consider both arguments and analyze the candidates that way.

For example, Donald Trump is unpopular in liberal circles due to some of the questionable and at times, racist comments he’s made. However, just watching reactions from family, friends and social media feeds, Trump can’t say three words without people tuning him out.

Listen first and then draw a conclusion afterward. I’ve noticed far too often we have predisposed mindsets and refute beliefs opposite our own.

I was guilty of this same behavior myself for a long time.

I almost never considered the conservative end of the political spectrum. I followed the ideal that if you’re black, you vote Democrat.

This was especially the case when Barack Obama was running for president. I’m almost positive people voted for him based on the color of his skin.

What Obama accomplished was generation-defining, but it’s sad to know the majority of voters in the African-American community weren’t voting based on his policies, but on their predisposed mindsets of wanting to see someone that looked like them in the highest office in the land.

This applies across the board. Often, we get caught up in how a candidate looks or sounds rather than what they stand for. It’s silly when you think about it, because the two are unrelated — or should be.

Essentially, what I’m saying is to please do your duty as informed citizens and to look past all the glitz and glamor and get to the issues. At the end of the day, this is what matters and this is how we should determine the competency of the candidates.

As President Obama said at this year’s Democratic National Convention, “Don’t boo; vote.”