Register to vote, and teach your children to do the same
By Michael Kull
During an election year, candidates try to distinguish themselves and often highlight inequality as a way of winning supporters anxious to improve their lives. They can make persuasive arguments that appeal to the emotions, but it is important to base important decisions like these on facts and critical thinking, rather than on feelings alone. Commercials, advertisements and debates are all opportunities to learn about not only the issues and platforms different candidates and political parties support, but they also can offer a glimpse of the character of the candidates themselves. Are they good leaders? Are they experienced enough to be effective? Are they balanced in mind, body and spirit?
Use Your Critical Thinking Skills
All U.S. citizens at least 18 years old and satisfying all the legal requirements can register to vote. Nearly everyone eligible to cast a ballot for one of the candidates will have access to all of this information, and will be able to make a decision based on more than just rumor or someone else’s opinion.
As Mike Smith’s article points out (see his article in this issue), parents and educators can help children to develop the critical thinking skills needed to make sense of all the information available, so that when they are old enough to exercise the privilege of voting, they will be empowered by real knowledge to choose good leaders.
Of course, none of this will matter if those who are eligible to vote are not registered to vote. Exercising the right and privilege to vote is the only way to put all that critical thinking into action.
“Because children look to parents and caregivers for examples of how to live their lives, it is important to show them that you are prepared to complete the cycle of action by registering to vote and making your voice heard.”
Take Action Now!
If you haven’t already registered, the October 6 deadline is almost here, but you still have time, if you make it a priority. There are several ways you can register. The State of Tennessee’s Web site (http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/registration.htm) has a downloadable voter registration application that you can fill out and mail to:
Knox County Election Commission
300 Main Street
Knox County Courthouse Room 218
Knoxville, TN 37902-1850
The application must be either hand delivered or postmarked at least 30 days prior to election day, so there is still time to take action! The Tennessee State Web site also has a directory you can use to see if you are already registered and where your polling location is. The Knox County Election Commission’s Web site is http://www.knoxcounty.org/election/ and has great information about where to vote, absentee ballots, sample ballots (so you can see who your choices are going to be on election day), and helpful contact numbers and email addresses.
Because children look to parents and caregivers for examples of how to live their lives, it is important to show them that you are prepared to complete the cycle of action by registering to vote and making your voice heard.