The Issue: Political ignorance is rampant and detrimental to the democratic process.
Our Stance: Having an opinion is great, but be prepared to back it up.
We all know people who parade around election season espousing a party, whether it be through sophomoric insults against Obama posted on Facebook, unwarranted vitriol towards Romney on Twitter or through repeated statements insisting that “Ron Paul had it right” when they clearly have no idea what his beliefs on many issues are or what the ramifications a libertarian government would carry.
To those people: Please, take a second and think about what you’re saying.
So you think government bailouts killed or saved the economy? Have you even read any of the economic reports analyzing its success? (For the record, the answer is disputed, but The Washington Post reports that the majority of economists think it was a minor success.)
And if you’re going to take a stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, at least try to make sure you know where they are on a map.
These are complex issues, and yet so many people are quick to jump onto the party bandwagon on the basis of a catchy slogan or a riveting yet hollow convention speech.
Put down your fists for a second, drop the pundit posturing and say it with me: I have a lot to learn about politics.
Because we all do, really—ourselves included.
And before accusations of hypocrisy towards The Roundup’s running of several political opinions in this month’s issue, take some time to read them. We ran them because they were thoughtful, informative and insightful—something that cannot always be said of the all too frequent Facebook rants calling Obama a communist or Romney a greedy demon.
Don’t think we don’t understand your fever, though. You’re young, you’re passionate and you want a cause to get behind.
That’s awesome. Just be sure to understand that cause.
If you’re going to be that guy who is loaded with political thoughts, you’re going to have to commit to it.
Read the newspaper (check out the rest of this Opinions section and our news coverage, for example), vet your media sources and read some of the wonderful Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking resources out there like PolitiFact and FactCheck.org.
Then you’re going to have to hear things out from both sides. Yes, this is going to mean listening to that awful candidate who you previously thought you hated.
Then, if you think you’re ready, you can make your voice heard.
But do it within reason.
Don’t generate ad hominem attacks on candidates. We at The Roundup have a policy with our editorials wherein we criticize policies and actions, but not people themselves. This ought to apply to many political opinions as well.
Do it with an open mind. Arguing for the sake of arguing is pointless, but arguing for the sake of insight is golden.
As a positive example, remember last year’s valedictorian Bill McDonald ’12? As someone well versed in nearly every political issue, he only chimed in to express his opinion in a fair way and to correct those who were badly misinformed.
Think of it as a public service; somebody’s gotta tell that guy online that Obama is, in fact, not a Muslim.
Then, when ballot season comes around, you can make an informed opinion instead of voting down party lines and electing less than desirable people whom you know nothing about.
The current system in place is really regimented for the two parties in power, especially here in Arizona, where there are no open primaries.
But that doesn’t mean that elections aren’t a worthwhile opportunity to make informed choices and pick who you truly believe deserves the job.
So next time we see everyone on Facebook, we expect something better than “Obama is from Kenya” or “Romney hates poor people.”
We expect an opportunity to learn.
Staff editorial written by Julian De Ocampo ’13.
Staff editorials represent the view of The Roundup. Share your thoughts by e-mailing email@example.com or leave comments online at roundup.brophyprep.org.