By: Paula Walter

It’s hard to believe that its time for another presidential election. This year, there are approximately 12 candidates for the Republican Party. I say approximately because there are some candidates who have already dropped out of the race, and some that are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. There are so many that debates are broken down into two arenas in what is referred to as “the big kids table” and “the little kids table.” There are three contenders for the Democratic nod. If anyone has watched the debates of this week, it’s increasingly becoming a shouting match and a lot of finger pointing.
I come from a family that talked politics. From the time I was a child, I remember my father picking up people to register and later take them to the polls to vote. My husband’s mother worked at the election polls for years. Some of my first memories were watching Richard Nixon and John Fitzgerald Kennedy in their famous debate. I still vividly recall a dream I had after having my tonsils removed when I was five where my parents could not convince me that Kennedy and Eisenhower were not in my hospital room. I woke up asking my mother where the good guy had gone. As an adult, I know it was the ether, but you couldn’t convince me of that at the time.
Growing up in the sixties, I vividly recall discussions about news events, the war in Vietnam, civil rights marches, rioting, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey and Martin Luther King and religion. While my parents didn’t spend an excessive amount of time following world events, the Washington Post was my hometown newspaper. It was difficult not to find yourself immersed in watching the political happenings of the day. As I have often said, it was our local news. This affliction was passed onto our oldest son, whose teacher called us impressed because David had drawn charts on the blackboard showing why he believed George H.W. Bush would win over Bill Clinton. He was eight years old. To this day, I really didn’t think we talked that much at that time about politics, but it seems like we must have.

My husband and I follow world events, and as this race for the president is now in full swing, we have once again become political junkies. Okay, so we probably never stopped and have just ramped it up quite a bit. I have to admit we often hop from television to the internet in an attempt to see the news in all lights. We have been known to talk to the TV and stomp off in disgust or disbelief. Although there is a lot of information to absorb, we feel it’s our responsibility to know the candidates who are trying to grab the highest seat in our nation.

As a voter, it’s up to us to elect the best possible leader for the United States. The world is chaotic and is changing every day. We need someone whom we can trust and who will lead us through good times and times of trials. It seems that every time you turn on the TV or go online, there is another event happening, and all too often they seem to be bad. We need someone who reflects the beliefs of the United States.

We need to know the issues and the values and opinions of our potential leaders. We need to have confidence in them, and if we don’t know where they stand on important issues, we’re in the dark. It’s not enough just to vote one way because someone’s family has voted that way for generations. We need to ask educated questions and find out which candidate lines up the closest to our political, family and religious beliefs. We need facts based information, and this takes time and effort on your part to be well informed on the issues most important to you.