Elections safeguard principles, not parties

Thomas Garcia

With the election a week behind us I am still hearing many people talk about the results, but in a way that has me concerned.

The day after the election I heard three comments about the candidates from voters who were a few years younger than 30. Now I know this does not seem unusual since the election was just held the day before.

It was what was said which sparked my concern. “That darned Republican won,” “The Democrat skated on by,” and “Great, a GOP -controlled House. That is all we needed.”

OK, I know it is politics and there is going to be mudslinging and name calling. However, I spoke with the people who made those comments. I asked if they actually knew anything about the candidate or the party’s intentions or goals.

The answers I received is where my true concern was increased. “It’s a Republican, the taxes are going to go up.” “He’s a Democrat and used that to get the votes.” “It’s the Republicans. Need I say more?”

It is statements and answers like this which have me concerned about the future of our nation. One of the greatest liberties we have in this nation is voting.

Many of us exercise this liberty with great responsibility and honor. The principle is to preserve the government spoken about by President Abraham Lincoln during the Gettysburg Address, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

Now I am not saying our nation or its democracy is coming to an end because of this election, although many people I have spoken to would have you think otherwise.

How one votes is his or her prerogative. After all, it is their right to vote however they wish. The older populations are seasoned voters and have an idea of how and why they vote the way they do.

It is those votes by teens where my concern is really focused. These young and impressionable minds are coming right out of social studies and current events textbooks and into the proverbial frying pan.

They go to the post office or to the county clerk’s office and register to vote. When they are there, they fill out all the information and choose a party affiliation. All of us have done this before and while many traditionally follow the same party as their parents, some choose to go their own path.

Now the election comes around and this is their chance to make a difference. So my question is, did they research the candidates and the issues?

Are they going to carefully weigh their options when considering whom and what to vote for or against?

A part of me is afraid they merely follow the trends or vote as they think their parents would.

While the vote more than counts, I fear it was not their own. The first election I voted in was one surrounded by scandal. Let me set the scene: Nov. 3, 1998 — that is right, Clinton’s second term. And the two words on everyone’s mind: Monica Lewinsky. All I heard was “don’t support the Democrats. Look what their president did in office.”

I researched the candidates who were running, including those for the U.S. House of Representatives Third Congressional District. After my research, and despite the “Lewinsky Factor,” I voted for Democrat Tom Udall.

Maybe I am overreacting and reading too much into the statements made by those three individuals with all the emphasis on informing the voters about the issues facing their nation. I hope the teens who are about to vote take the time to learn about the candidates and issues.

This election is in the books. However, in two years their vote will once again shape the nation. To make a difference you must be willing to take direct action.

Voting — it’s not only your right. It is a privilege and responsibility.