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A lack of interest and information leads to uninformed decision making

Students must be properly engaged before voting

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In the age of information, our generation is incredibly misinformed and underinformed.

The debate Monday night between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is just one example of this – the highly publicized event was essentially a chance to Tweet the most notable and quotable phrases. Students were more concerned with drinking games and memes rather than the policy platforms the candidates discussed.

It seemed as if people watched the debate like they watch the Superbowl; they have no idea what’s going on, nor do they care. They feel they have to watch it because millions of other people are and no one wants to miss out on the debate of the century.

Whether or not people watched the debate, it’s vital to stress the importance of voting. We at The Spectrum understand people have a right to not vote just as much as they have a right to vote. If you’re knowledgeable on both parties and don’t feel you can support either candidate, then don’t force yourself to choose between the “lesser of two evils.”

But many people have made the decision not to vote without taking the time to educate themselves on each candidate’s platform.

We do not feel the debate itself was very informative and both candidates had a lot of missed-opportunities to appeal to the public. Neither candidate spoke about policy enough nor did they refrain from personal character attacks.

But what you do after watching the debate is what’s important.

Instead of looking at the fact-checked updates, people took to social media to post memes and Snapchat filters of the candidates’ faces, which is the biggest distraction from the election altogether.

Social media has become a guide to filter information. It tends to ignore the wordy, meaty parts of politics, like specific policies or complicated economic plans. This information is important, yet it takes digging and research to get into it.

But it isn’t just social media, UB professors need to do more to educate their students.

Many professors have yet to mention the election at all and failed to initiate a meaningful discussion about the debate, candidates or anything of the sort. Political science professors may speak about it in class, but based on experience from editors at The Spectrum, they have told students that their singular vote does not matter in the grand scheme of the election.

This is factually accurate, sure. One vote out of the 3 million people who are eligible will not sway the election, but this sort of rhetoric will dissuade an already passive audience.

Professors should be taking time to guide misinformed students.

What many people do not understand is that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are two other candidates in the race. Students who were split between Clinton and Bernie Sanders have choices in the leftist Stein and liberal Johnson.

It is far too common that students “hate both candidates” and refuse to vote for either. Let’s face it, whether you vote or not, one of these people will be elected as the next U.S. president on Nov. 8.

Don’t take yourself out of the conversation.

The editorial board can be reached at eic@ubspectrum.com


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