Wyo4News Guest Op-Ed: Political Signs Should Lead To Education On Candidates/Issues

Views expressed within this Wyo4News Op-Ed are not necessarily those of Wyo4News ownership, management or it’s sponsors. Wyo4News management reserves the right to make space available for responsible, dissenting opinion.

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By Joshua W.D. Coursey

A plethora of campaign signs representing numerous candidates all vying for the publics vote marks the coming of election day through what has blossomed into more appropriately noted, another election season. Held with a similar dismay that I have with watching a professional baseball game, only to be distracted by the bombardment of advertising on any square inch of space to be sold, political campaigning is here to stay in the same way historic ball parks like Wrigley Field were named to bolster a commercial brand.

While many of the campaign signs feature names and party affiliations that I recognize, each election year there are those I am unfamiliar with and these signs represent a healthy reminder that I need to do more to learn about all of the candidates. After all, I live in a land that through great sacrifices has blessed me with the freedoms to be engaged and have a say in who will best represent me on the issues I value most. In addition to these opportunities being noted as a blessing, they are also a responsibility that each of us have in carrying out our civic duties as freedom loving Americans.

I am just guessing but I would reckon that we are similar in some ways. I recognize there are many important issues and all with needed attention. Rising health care costs coupled with inflated insurance premiums, education, national security, infrastructure etc. The list is long and the list is important. That being said, at the end of the day when I am casting my vote for representation at the city, county, state and national levels, I have a few issues that are a little closer to my heart. After all we are casting a vote for someone to champion a message on our behalf. Public lands, natural resources and striking a balance for responsible development are a few for me. What are your issues? How are you doing your homework to feel confident that you will cast your vote on the best candidate to represent you? Got your core issues identified where you draw the line? What would your yard look like if you were to put up signs that represented your concerns?

Concerned and being engaged is the answer in my mind. We’ve all heard it before, if you don’t vote you should avoid complaining. True, but let’s face it, this statement is very elementary if not prefaced by the fact that voting is near the end of the process. Voting is just part of the process. Educating yourself and through a process of elimination is the only way I have found to whittle my cast to one candidate. There is no perfect candidate that will align with you on every issue except for you. Therefore, you must put your confidence in another and engage to ensure that their promises and plans made known during their campaign are being lived up to. If not, fire them and make it known. These positions belong to you and your voice.

I get it, politics are ugly and often littered with negativity instead of exploring options for solution-oriented results. The frustrations felt by the banter of political duels and growing lack of civility within campaigns, coupled with biased press regurgitation of what we call news cannot become an excuse to disengage or rid oneself of interest in the issues that move you. These are distractions and I refuse to believe that we are better off accepting defeat and giving acknowledgement to the system being corrupt, broken or beyond repair. If we adopt that mindset, truly all is lost. We must refuse this notion. We must stay engaged and engaged with an improved sense of consistency.  

Consistent engagement? What does that look like? Sounds inconvenient and more chore worthy than anything else I reckon. What’s the alternative? How are any of us expected to stay in the loop on the issues that we hold near and dear if we fail to stay in the loop? We prioritize. We align ourselves with others who share similar values, we put into motion the practice of continued education by learning and staying informed and we learn processes. Processes to be heard and processes to provoke change if need be. What other options are there? To do nothing breeds victims in my mind.  

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