Remember last year when a retailer tried to sell tee-shirts to our daughters that said they were too pretty for homework? Man, we were fit to be tied! We took to the internet, wrote blog posts and got those shirts out of those stores. I wouldn’t be surprised if the retailer made a huge donation to the Girl Scouts after the beat down us mamas gave them online.
Now, however, during this super important political season, many of us are playing the role of the the girl that “doesn’t do homework”. We joke all year around that we aren’t June Cleaver, and pat ourselves on the back for being forces to be reckoned with, but when political coverage starts picking up, we’re all, “I don’t get it” and super annoyed.
You know what’s annoying? Not being able to afford private health insurance, and hearing about a candidate trying to repeal the health care that is actually a solution to many Americans who would otherwise be uninsured. You know what I don’t get? How we, as women, can sit back and let a group of men make decisions about our reproductive health without insisting on being a part of the conversation.
Look, I understand being overwhelmed by all of the political coverage, and I am absolutely there with you. I talk a good game, but I don’t get it all either. I don’t know the candidate’s exact positions on every issue. I rely a lot on FactCheck.org to get a better understanding of what’s true and what’s not…it’s a lot. It really is, and I acknowledge that. It’s so important not to let those feelings of being overwhelmed stop us from being informed voters, though.
Here’s how you can be more informed if you just “don’t get” all of this political stuff:
1. Find simplified information. The New York Times and the Washington Post aren’t the only ways that you can stay informed. Reading blogs and checking websites like iVillage’s iVote channel break down all of the issues and the candidate’s stances, and provide links to other sites that can give you more of what you need. Also, check out Scholastic’s Election 2012 site. It was created for students, but, honestly, I have gotten a lot of factual, unbiased information from their coverage.
2. Watch the debates. It’s really nice to hear straight from the candidates about where they stand on the issues. Now, of course, whether or not the candidates are being honest…that’s up for debate, but at least you have a foundation for understanding what the candidates (say that they) believe in. Even if you don’t watch the entire thing, just having it on in the background…that’s a start!
3. Follow along on social media. Find someone that you like online and follow their political commentary. Also, Most of the bigger websites that cater to women (iVillage, Babble, etc.) are covering the election, and share information that is most critical and pertinent to women. I suggest you follow the #ivote and #blogforobama hashtags. I don’t have any hashtags for Governor Romney, but I’m sure if you searched online, you’d find some well-informed folks to follow if you’re inclined to vote red.
You know, I know that we all live in our own little bubbles with our family, and our friends, and our lives. Voting is our civic duty, though, and it’s our duty to choose an administration that serves the needs of the entire country. You can’t successfully do that if you aren’t informed.
Do you have any tips for folks that are feeling overwhelmed by politics right now? What are some other ways that we can all stay informed without going crazy?