Critical thinking and informative voting


Photo by Gage Skidmore

The two leading presidential candidates, Donald Trump (R) and Hillary Clinton (D).

Hayden Cunningham, Business Manager and Webmaster

The election year always causes widespread controversy across the entire country, and everybody would agree that this year is more controversial and more important than ever before. So as the clock ticks down to who will be the next president of the United States of America, we need to remember the importance of critical thinking when we pick who we want to win.

Many seniors at OHS will be able to vote. But even if you can’t vote, most still have an opinion on the election, and tend to be very stubborn in their beliefs. What every person needs to do is ask themselves specific questions before they choose the candidate they want to be commander in chief.

Do you step back and think why you like or dislike a candidate?

It sounds simple, but most people don’t truly think about it. Every voter has to do their homework on the candidates. Make sure you know exactly what each candidate believes and stands for.

Don’t let one specific stance be a deciding factor, rather let a combination of ideas be your overall decision. Also if you dislike a candidate because they may say vulgar or loud things, that doesn’t somehow disqualify them and make them the wrong person for the job. Even if you don’t like one of the people running, they might be the person who would help the country the most.

Do you find yourself agreeing with the candidate without knowing why?

It is crucial to remember that you don’t vote for one person because everyone else does, make your own decisions. If a person were to come up to you and ask you why you like or dislike a candidate, answer what you truly think.

Do you find yourself just rattling off the same things you hear on social media or on the news? If so, it’s you simply repeating someone else’s ideas. Have facts and evidence behind what you think about a candidate. Try to persuade yourself to like the candidate you don’t like, then debate yourself so you realize why you think the way you do.

Are you truly thinking for yourself? No person should be able to tell you who to vote for. That is especially true when talking about celebrities. An actor who is paid to read other people’s word and lines has no greater opinion on politics as your neighbor. Think about what you turn to when you think on who to vote for. Many people turn to their religion which is completely acceptable, just not when your religion tells you who to vote for.

Do you want specific characteristics in a candidate?

Before you choose who you vote for, right a list of specific talents and traits you want a president to have. Everyone would agree that you need someone who is honest and wants to genuinely help the country. Pick the candidate who falls in line with the characteristics you want.

Understand that sometimes candidates speak out of context. Know the context of what is being said. Sometimes fact checks are used to spin a candidate’s words and try to convince you they lied. However, they take what was said out of context and call it a lie. This is a bias trick: before you agree that a candidate is wrong or lied, go back and look at all of what they said, not just the sound bite.

Do you put aside your personal interests and vote for who the country needs?

The biggest thing people do (especially in this election season) is put their own personal interest in their decision making. This is not appropriate. You do not vote for the person who will benefit you the most, you vote for the person the country needs.

It is truly ignorant to vote for someone who has the same ideas as you when they aren’t the right person. Maybe you disagree with a candidate, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the right person for the job.

Nothing is more important than critical thinking. It involves asking yourself these questions before you make a decision. This is also necessary in general for your life. You have to access the situation, and think before you act. And most certainly do not be subject to what you hear.

Think about that next time you create  an account online: do you really read the terms and conditions or do you just simply click accept? There is no difference between this and the election when you just agree with a candidate, unaware of what they actually stand for. You don’t waste time with the details, you just want the product.

Do you make no effort to be friends with someone just because they are loud or said something controversial? You’re supposed to give them a chance. Everyone deserves a chance because they could do a lot of good and show you that there are more than one sides of them.

We are living in a time where media and the internet is out of hand. Opinions and bias are everywhere. Know when you are reading facts and opinions; question everything. Because we are getting to a point where people are being told who to vote for. And that is a very scary thing.