Educating Yourself to Vote

The economy is in the toilet, we’re fighting multiple wars, Sarah Palin still annoys the neck out of me … but all is not dark.

I talked with my 22 year old college nephew the other day and it brought me great hope.  It was probably the longest conversation we’ve ever had about serious things – an hour! – and included quite a lengthy discussion of politics.  His parents are conservative Republicans and he lives in a red state, but he is surprisingly open.  (I know, there’s an implied judgment there but it still was a surprise to discover he was not opposed to gay marriage.)

We talked about Right to Life and that life involves more than unborn babies, it also involves facing the death penalty and taking a life then.  We talked about politics and how I ended up a Democrat, but that I actually do vote for the candidate I think is best for the job, which can (and has) included voting for a Republican.

We talked about how to educate yourself to vote this year, watching the candidates on TV as well as analysis but also reading papers (in print or on the web) to see the words spelled out, summarizing positions on important issues.  And that the presidential candidates and their VP picks needed to be considered as a package because if anything should happen to either Obama or McCain, we’d have a new president and that person had better be prepared to step in and lead.

And we talked about voting itself.  That it’s a priviledge and a responsibility, and that even if you aren’t really sure which one to vote for, you may dislike one more than the other and that gives you your choice.  I told him that I didn’t care whether we voted for the same candidate (although obviously I hope he picks mine).  What mattered was that he take the time to vote.

I felt kind of like a League of Women Voters commercial – but happy that we could have this discussion without any badgering, raised voices, or snippy remarks.  He’s growing up.  Maybe so am I.