Staff editorial: Don’t elect apathy

By Staff Editorial

With the November elections approaching, many students will be participating in one of the richest acts of democracy. Most will walk away from the ballot feeling a sense of power, a sense of liberty and maybe even a sense of gratitude for the freedom to vote.

However, some may fail to realize that proclaiming one’s self as a liberal or conservative and then casting a blind vote accordingly does not fulfill this freedom. Democracy isn’t strictly checking one side of the ticket because a mother, a cousin or a professor instilled the notion that being righteous equates with being a Republican or a Democrat.

During a presidential election, too many citizens’ thought processes become lazy. It must seem easier to trust the belief of surrounding people than to intelligently look at all issues and take a stance. Or it may require minimal effort to choose a candidate based on one social issue, disregarding the other economic, national or international impacts that follow the elected official. Democracy is intelligently weighing the issues each candidate represents and evaluating which of these issues are most important. Democracy begins with exercising the freedom to think, forming an opinion and then casting an individual vote accordingly.

The Church has repeatedly stated that it is a non-partisan institution. In a letter dated October 2000, the First Presidency stated that members are encouraged to “study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully and then vote for those they believe will most nearly carry out their ideas of good government.” In The Declaration of Independence it states that the government, deriving its powers from the consent of the governed, should promote safety and happiness.

The most important act any one of us can do to prepare for this election begins with deciding which issues are of greatest impact. We need to research the issues that not only affect the nation, but also the world. Like the First Presidency stated, it is essential to weigh all issues and decide which candidate represents those closest to our own beliefs. Our votes should be cast according to whom, as described in the Constitution, will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and who will promote national and international unity.

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As we approach the elections this November, ask yourself if your vote is a reflection of individually weighing the issues each candidate stands for, or if your vote, forsaking any act of intelligence, is dependent on the beliefs of others. This November, celebrate democracy and think for yourself.

The Daily Universe (Brigham Young U.)