Stillwater News Press

Opinion

November 2, 2010

OUR VIEW: It's your vote

STILLWATER, Okla. — Editorial:

The Stillwater NewsPress has a local policy that we do not endorse candidates.

We see our readers as intelligent, thinking people who are capable of pursuing information about candidates and making their own decision when they cast their vote.

We have been providing that impartial information through our news pages and our website, with stories by NewsPress reporter Ricky O’Bannon and NewsPress/CNHI statehouse reporter Trevor Brown.

We also have posted all 11 State Questions from the Oklahoma Election Board on our website and in our news pages.

We will not tell you which way to vote. We will tell you this. Your vote matters and you owe it to yourself, your community, your state and nation to cast an informed vote based on your own sound reasoning and uncoerced decision.

Through whatever motivation, political discourse in our country has been reduced to the decorum of a barroom brawl. Screaming and pushing to get our way was unacceptable when we were 5 and is no more appropriate in adulthood.

We should be able to disagree and still have a civil conversation. And we all can pick our candidates, our political parties and our ideologies.

Vote for the person you feel will best represent your views in whatever office is under consideration. Look beyond who that person is – a parent, a priest or a popcorn salesman – and find out how that person stands on issues important to you.

It is fine to know a candidate’s marital status, the names of their children and whether they go to church, synagogue or their favorite fishing hole on Sunday. That tells you about the person. That doesn’t tell you how they will vote on education, healthcare, budget cuts or bakery taxes.

We like to vote for people we feel a kinship with. He’s a Christian – I’m a Christian. She was in my sorority. He’s a Pokes fan, too. But how naïve to think that by virtue of those similarities we will agree on how best to get dollars into our classrooms or reduce programs in our government.

And how naïve to think that because that person shares that kinship with us, we must support their agenda. Or that they must support ours.

Do we think only people who look like us can think like us or share our beliefs and positions? Do we think that because someone looks like us, or drives the same kind of car we do, that we have to agree with them?

We have a world of brilliant minds available to us, and they come in all faiths and hues. To think that one candidate is more likely to reform government spending because she has had children or another will better understand trimming tax credits because he coached Little League baseball represents what we all learned in high school psychology class is faulty logic. If this is so, then that must be so. It’s a favorite of political campaigns.

If he is a Capricorn and I am a Capricorn, then he must be the best candidate for me to support. If she has a traditional family then she must support all things we all see as beneficial to families.

But what do we see as beneficial to families? Think about it in terms of arguments outside your comfort zone – the anchor babies debate surrounding immigrants, national healthcare.

We ask you to dig deeper when deciding how to cast your vote this election. It’s not Aunt Edna’s ballot or your minister’s ballot or the ballot of the guy at the next table in your favorite diner. It’s yours. Vote your own conscience. Do it for you. Do it for our democratic system.

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