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Ain’t no party like an Independent party

November 8, 2012

SCHILLING

 

HANNAH SCHILLING
News Editor

 

Most people mistake me for a drop of blue in a sea of red.

 

Then they look closer, the lines blur and they see my true color of purple.

 

Voters should not blindly cast a ballot for a party. They should thoroughly research the candidates and issues, and then make a decision based on the facts.

 

I recently met a girl from Canada, who upon finding out I was from Louisiana, grabbed my shoulders, looked into my eyes and posed a serious question: “Are you a Republican? I have never met a real-life Republican.”

 

I laughed and after I said “no,” she asked if I was a Democrat. When I declared a second “no,” she seemed confused.

 

No, I do not strictly adhere to one party for voting options. And I believe people that arbitrarily vote for a party they “stand behind” are missing the big picture.

 

Thinking for yourself instead of letting a party think for you allows your vote to mean more in the end.

 

When faced with a choice the first thing a voter should ask is “What are my options?”

 

And no, I don’t mean just the two main candidates or the one motion that has gotten so much publicity you turn off your news when they talk about it. I mean every single thing that will be on the ballot.

 

The next step is simple: read.

 

Research the issues, put all of the candidates side by side, and form an opinion. Then when you show up to the polls, your vote will be more than a click of a button for the red or blue.

 

Votes mean something. When you cast a ballot, you are declaring that you believe in that candidate or that issue. Limiting it to only voting for a party and not looking at the big picture undermines who you are as a voter.

 

This whole “Oh, my parents are republican, I’m going to vote for …” or “Louisiana is a red state so I should vote for …” needs to stop, especially among college students.

 

We are here to better ourselves and become more educated — yet many can’t be bothered with researching who will be our next leader.

 

Gallup released a poll on Sept. 24, showing that 38 percent of America is Independent. When asked which way these voters lean, 43 percent said Republican and 50 percent said Democrat.

 

Leaning simply means that you identify with one party more than the other, but that does not determine your vote.

 

The number of independent voters is expected to rise. And why shouldn’t it? An informed populace is a nation’s best defense, as Thomas Jefferson said.

 

I have informed myself, and I firmly believe in the Second Amendment and strongly support gun rights — but I also support gay marriage.

 

I lean conservative when it comes to spending — but I support women’s health and the funding of Planned Parenthood.

 

Have I confused you yet?

 

No, you do not have to be a stickler to a party. Believe in what you think is right, and when you go to cast your vote, that will shine through. Your vote will become personal, as it should be.

 

As for choosing strictly between the donkey or the elephant, I don’t think that is such a good idea. But a donphant or an elekey? I would have one of those as a pet any day.

 

Hannah Schilling is a sophmore journalism major from Bossier City who serves as a news editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to hms017@latech.edu.

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