t’s logical to come to the conclusion that adults should be politically active. American adults are the ones directly influencing and reacting to politics. The jump from politically inactive teen to active adult is unsteady at best, nonexistent in a lot of cases. Sometimes we never get the lesson on how to get involved. Don’t be the adult that’s politically disinterested -- a lot of big decisions about how we live are being made, and your voice in these issues matters. Getting involved has two simple steps: get informed, and vote.

This article covers:

  • Knowing why it’s important
  • Keep up with the news
  • Voting

Importance of Political Involvement

Getting started on being a politically active adult starts with knowing why it’s so important. Issues concerning our country are being decided by the representatives we put into office. To name a few issues you could help influence, consider gender equality, environmental protection, immigration, and healthcare; all issues decided by representatives we bring into office. If you want to see a difference being made that will directly impact how hoe live your everyday life, you need to vote in the representative who shares your values.

Government impacts essential aspects of life; the decisions they make is seen in our schools, roads, jobs, and health. To not get involved is giving yourself a serious disadvantage. Some of the most influential decisions still need to be brought to the attention of Congress, and your involvement impacts who it is that is making these decisions, which then influences how the decision will go. To put the candidate best suited to your interests into office, you need to research the candidates, and then actually go out and vote for them.

The White House in America's political capital, Washington DC.
Participating in politics is an essential part of being a responsible adult and American citizen.

Government has the most influence in our country. We have to participate in politics or we lose our power to make a change for the better. Vote into power the representatives that characterize your interests and values the best!

Many Americans don’t get involved when they think their candidate has already secured the win or they think their vote won’t make a difference. In today’s politics the truth is that neither of these assumptions are true. Races have hit a new level of competitiveness and every vote matters to sway the results. If you want to see your values represented in politics, you need to get involved, or else your candidate will lose in a close race.  

In America, it is the people’s responsibility to lend their voices, as well as educate themselves about today’s political issues. Whether it’s a national, state, or local election, your vote can influence which issues are addressed, and how.

Stay Informed

You can’t effectively participate in politics if you don’t keep up with the news. The news you read up on will help you form an opinion on issues, which you can then use to choose a candidate to vote for. Candidates will often inform potential voters on how they stand on issues and their response to current events. That’s why you need to know about current events, and how they relate to your voting decisions.

Researching Candidates

When researching candidates to vote for, you have multiple attributes to look into. You can look into a candidate’s past voting records, or what, if any, groups and organizations are funding them. But perhaps most importantly, look into what the candidate’s policies are. Educate yourself on what issues candidates are prioritizing, and how they plan to tackle them. Do they align with your interests?

Daily Intake of News

To remedy political unawareness, simply start a habit of staying informed. Get the news in the format you enjoy: newspaper, phone app, television, or talk show. The formats of sources is endless, which leaves us a lot of options, as well as makes us vulnerable to false news. Starting a habit for anything can be difficult. Make staying updated enjoyable, which you can control by your choice of format. It may also help to catch up on the news at the same time everyday. Such as every morning during your commute, or in your bedroom before bed.

News has been around forever, and the sources of news have grown to an overwhelming amount. It can be intimidating to find your way around it, but you’ll find your favorite, credible sources in no time. Once you have, you have your easy go-tos!

Being informed allows you to make your own opinions on issues, and gives you a pool of evidence to support your political arguments in a conversation. A daily intake of news will give you an intelligence to be used in conversation and in voting.  

Determining the Truth

You need to be careful about where you get your information because unfortunately there are a lot of lies out there. Not every article is fact-checked, which makes a lot of what is published online partly or completely untrue. Luckily there are tools available to you that fact-check articles concerning a specific topic. You can find articles on sites such as Snopes and Politifact which determine the level of truth in the article. Some are partially true, while others are completely fabricated lies. If you’re unsure about an article’s truthfulness, look elsewhere for fact-checking.

It can be intimidating to jump into the news cycle, but you’ll quickly find the sources you find most reliable and accessible.

Everyone takes their news differently, but everyone should follow this one rule: check the source. If you get your news from a source you are unfamiliar with, it may be false. A source may be unreliable for a number of reasons: it may not have all the information, it may be satire, or it could be flat out lies. It’s important to identify bias in articles as even credible sources tend to have a political leaning. Choose several sources that are credible. It helps to have an overlap of sources from opposing political affiliations to understand different perspectives.

Delay Catching Up on the News

There is a lot of news out there, and a lot of it is a bit depressing. If you have trouble sorting between what’s important and what’s pointless, you can decide to wait a few days before reading current news. Bookmark recent articles for “read later” and wait a few days before reading. The time displacement from the topic of the article will help you distinguish whether it is truly meaningful or trivial with no longevity of importance.  

Vote, Vote, Vote!

Voting is the most elemental part of political involvement. How else are you and your values meant to be represented? Reading up and talking about politics aren’t enough. Once you vote in all your elections, you’ve officially become a politically active adult. But first: everything you need to know about voting.

Why to Vote

If you aren’t convinced about the importance of voting, here’s further initiatives. For one, you are not allowed to complain about how the country is run if you aren’t voting when able. Complaining is for voters, so get into that voting booth! Voting is your fundamental right as an American, and with it you have the power of influencing the future for yourself and future generations. When you don’t vote, you’re letting others vote for you: surrendering your vote increases the value of other votes.

Voting is one of the most direct ways we can impact what’s going on in our nation and in our communities.

Voting is your opportunity to initiate change. If you want certain issues to be addressed that are currently being ignored, or you don’t like how representative are handling a situation, you can change everything with your vote. Research your candidates, and then go vote!

If nobody votes, we aren’t living in a democracy. If you value the democratic system, voting is an essential part that you need to get involved in. Include yourself in the greater community and nation by contributing your voice. Everything going wrong isn’t just happening to you. A whole nation is feeling your pain, and to unite with other citizens is how you make change for the better of everyone. Don’t give up your ability to make a difference.

How to Vote

If you are not already registered to vote, register now. Americans age 18 and older are all eligible. You can register by following this link. You’ll need information such as your name, address, and birthday.  

If you are not home for election day, you can fill out an absentee ballot. This is helpful especially for students away at college. It also applies for those that are away on a business trip or vacation. If you’re planning on being away on election day, be sure to fill out the absentee ballot before the deadline.

Getting politically involved doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s a responsibility and a right; to neglect duties of staying informed and voting is a failure of citizenship. If you have a set of credible sources to check on frequently, and understand how to identify bias, you’ve already done half the work. All that’s left to do is to represent your values by going out and making a well-informed vote.

Apr 20, 2020

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