July 20, 2018 | ° F

Make informed choices when voting

John Paul Rogers is a man you've probably never heard of, which is understandable, given that his claim to fame is that he's running for mayor of Lake Wales, Florida — a town you've probably never heard of as well. What's interesting about Rogers, though, is his past. Rogers is a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. Go ahead — take a guess as to what party Rogers is running under. It is probably safe to assume that your first instinct is Republican or Tea Party, especially if you are a political lefty. Shockingly enough, Rogers is running as a Democrat, the party many of us associate with political correctness and affirmative action. Rogers's tale serves as an example of the importance of true bipartisanship. If you merely vote along party lines all the time, it is quite possible that you will miss what exactly you are getting yourself into.

One of the fundamental flaws of modern American politics is how sharply divided it has become. It seems that voters are required to stay loyal to one party and one party only. Both sides often attack those who attempt compromise. Ironically, though, bipartisanship seems to be the buzzword of both the Democrats and the GOP. Politicians on both sides claim that compromise and a move to the center are the goals, but these same politicians often act as stumbling blocks for any real movement toward bipartisanship.

We would venture to say that most, if not all, Democrats would be extremely uncomfortable having an ex-KKK member as their mayor. But, since he's running as a Democrat, it is likely that many Democratic voters would completely miss this fact — or, worse, not consider it at all — simply because Rogers is "one of them." It is needless to say that this is one of the major dangers of fierce division along party lines — that a candidate who actually stands for the opposite of what the voters want gets into office solely because of mindless allegiance to one party over the other.

Voters in America have the responsibility to stay informed. That's more difficult than it sounds, but that doesn't make it any less important. We have a say in the government's operations. Our decisions in the voting booth should be among the most meaningful that we make in our lives. Too often, it seems to be just the opposite — we waltz into the booth and carelessly tick the box we've come to expect as our choice. This is a dangerous habit to fall into, and we cannot afford it.

The Daily Targum

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