Before You Vote, Do Your Research!


Published: October 2, 2008

I’m pretty sure that this election is giving me an ulcer. No, it’s not the LensCrafters glasses that Sarah Palin sports at every public appearance (though they are troubling); it’s the voters that are rushing out to support the McCain/Palin ticket without doing their research.

In a recent New York Times article, several women were asked how Sarah Palin’s nomination affected their view of John McCain, along with which issues were most important to them in the upcoming election. Most of the women interviewed agreed that a woman’s right to choose was one of the most important things to them in a candidate. They also stated that they would vote for John McCain now because his choice of Palin as a running mate made him seem like more of a “maverick.” As a staunchly pro-life politician, Palin is at complete odds with one of the issues these women considered most important.  Doesn’t it seem a bit ridiculous that these voters are willing to vote for a candidate whose platform goes against some of their most deeply held beliefs?

It’s not these voters’ support of McCain and Palin that bothers me, but rather the ignorance with which voters are jumping on the political bandwagon. Everyone can agree that this is the most important election in recent history. We should at least take two seconds to Google the candidate we’re voting for before pledging our allegiance to him on Facebook.

Of course a candidate’s relatability to the public is important in any election, but is it really more important that he (or she) share our chromosomal make-up than our stance on stem cell research? It’s absolutely imperative to thoroughly research our candidate’s policies and career, not just focus on his (or her) gender.

We can’t forget that Barack Obama supporters should make just as much of an effort to do their research as supporters of McCain and Palin. Every Urban Oufitters in the city has t-shirts with Obama’s face plastered all over them and every hipster in New York has the obligatory Obama pin on their canvas bags, but are they sure they know what they’re supporting when they wear their “Barack the Vote” tees?

A man who has been selling Obama paraphernalia around the corner from where I work for the past year told me that he is voting for the senator because Obama looks like him. “A black man needs to straighten up Washington.” Then I asked him if he supported gay couples being able to adopt. He said “Hell no! That s–t’s unnatural.” Surely a topic that elicits such a strong reaction (and the five minute violent rant that followed) should be one that this man should know Obama’s stance on. Rather than risking angering him further by informing him that Obama does indeed support the rights of gay couples to adopt, I just tossed him a dollar for my own Obama pin and backed away slowly.

In light of all the turmoil occurring in this country, we really can’t afford to be ignorant in this upcoming election.  With our next president most likely being able to appoint Supreme Court justices that will have lasting effects on our judicial system, shouldn’t we be sure that we’re well informed when we cast our vote?  Hanging chads aside, when we walk out of the voting booth in a few weeks, we should be sure that whomever we voted for shares our views on the topics we care most about.

People like my Obama button-selling friend and the Palin posse have me trolling eBay at 4 a.m. for H-2 blockers to help with my inevitable ulcer. Sure, watch the obligatory SNL skits in the coming weeks—they’ll surely be funny as hell. But please, please, vote on Nov. 4 with some sort of idea of what your candidate stands for and plans to do for the country. My stomach will thank you.