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Leave It to Stephen/Stephen Anderson

Voting: Making your voice heard

November 3, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

Enough with the political advertisements and junk mail! Can I get an "amen"?

I think last week's Daily Mining Gazette web poll, which showed that 96 percent of people were not influenced by political ads, is pretty telling, and I'm sure I'm not the only one getting sick of all the propaganda.

But the end is in sight.

And don't worry, this isn't a column about a specific candidate, proposal or issue. There have already been plenty of those on the editorial page.

Rather, this is an election-related reminder I think we can all use: Get out and vote.

I'm a fairly passionate person when it comes to politics, but even I start zoning out as campaigns really heat up and candidates simply reiterate the same empty rhetoric over and over. And if they flub up once, memes spread like wildfire across the social media landscape.

This is only the second presidential election I'll be voting in, but more than ever it seems like side stories have dominated headlines. Is Big Bird's employment really the biggest issue when millions of actual people are unemployed?

One candidate says one thing; the other says the opposite. One ad accuses a candidate of one thing; another responds with an even worse accusation - yeah, real "clean campaigns." One expert hates this guy; another loves him. One poll has this candidate winning; another predicts the other candidate.

Let's be honest with ourselves: When the margin of error on a poll is larger than the projected margin of victory, it's completely useless.

Ultimately, there's only one poll that really matters, and we all get a say in it - or at least have a right to have a say in it.

Some people tend to lose sight of how big of a privilege voting is.

Millions of people around the world are dictated to by "leaders" they had no say in electing. Our candidate may not always get in, but at least by filling in the oval of our choice, we at least earn the right to complain about the policies of the other guy. I've heard some pretty lame excuses for not voting, but I view it as a civic responsibility.

Some people won't vote out of apathy, but still others will claim that voting for "the lesser of two evils" is a pointless proposition. But, I challenge someone to find the perfect candidate.

Heck, I'd like to think if I ran for office, I'd be the one most acutely aware of my own imperfections. Anyone who's honest with themselves would have to say the same thing. So, let's not pretend there will ever be a perfect candidate. It's always a choice between the "lesser of two (or many more) evils."

Ultimately, decision time is almost here, and the beauty of our country is that when each of us steps into a voting booth, no advertisement, no mail flyer, no expert and no candidate will be able to fill in the bubbles for us. It's a privilege to complete that ballot, and I hope you'll join with me in heading to the polls and having your say in the future of our country. Can I get an "amen"?

Stephen Anderson can be reached at



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