Vote for who you would want as your father in law.
Vote for who you would want as your father in law.
Next, don't worry who you align with; decide what are your most important issues and go from there.
Finally, decide for yourself what each party or organization offers; don't listen to what the opposition thinks.
Just start watching the nightly news (I watch Brian Williams on NBC when I do, PBS also is great) and read the news from an unbiased source of good journalism (either the NY Times which I read or the Washington Post). You'll then be able to find where you stand politically without bias, meaning you'll be reading facts without a slant from world class journalists. I love the Op-Ed section too. It's nice hearing others' opinions.
By the way, I think it's the opposite of an embarrassing request. I think it's admirable that you want to get more involved and I wish more would do the same.
Last edited by MCBNY; 09-07-2012 at 06:24 PM.
There is nothing embarrassing about your request; there's no easy solution. The best path forward is to expose yourself to as many sources as possible, and you'll learn quickly which ones should and shouldn't be taken seriously based on your own viewpoints.
Most issues can be broken down into two general categories: fiscal and social. You may find that policies regarding economics, taxes, and government spending are more important to you than policies regarding abortion, gay marriage, and illegal immigration. Your preferences will shape where you go for information.
If you want a general exposure to issues, stances, and alignment with specific ideologies and candidates, I recommend taking some time to take the following political quiz with some precision.
Brian Williams on NBC, plz I get more info from this board then from Brian Williams. The news is distorted to their POV no matter who you listen too.
I would rather listen to the man/women on the street the person who is really
feeling the impact of political choices. So I would say listen to different sources and read up on the important issues and make your mind up!
Read the NY Times and Washington post - but also the Washington Times and New York Post, to get a sense of balance. One of the things I really enjoy every day is clicking on RealClearPolitics.com and reading the articles from all across the political spectrum. It gives me a chance to see how both sides are spinning issues, what they feel their best arguments are, how they poke holes in the other side's arguments, and how they defend against those pokes themselves.
I commend the OP for this thread. My advice is simple. Watch the debates. When I was younger and not really partial to either party I'd actually sit down and watch presidential debates. I still do but then I would watch impartially.
Next beware of politicians that use populist rhetoric.
Finally try and figure out what issues are important to you. If your primary concern is gays being allowed to marry/abortions being provided free from the government you should vote D. If your primary concerns are opportunity for advancement and economic prosperity for all you should vote Republican. If you think that America should take a back seat to the "world community" when dealing with external threats then go with the Dems. If you feel that the USA has the duty to act as a sort of world cop taking on threats sometimes preemptively in an effort to protect ourselves or our allies you should lean Republican.
There are clear differentiators between the parties. I also want to second something another poster said earlier. Reason.com is a libertarian website. Libertarians are IMO the ultimate centerists. They are very socially liberal and quite conservative fiscally.
Another great example is to look at the states and see which ones are run well and which aren't. In D controlled California Gays can marry, illegal immigrants get benefits, and the state is bankrupt. They have the social stuff you may like but economically they are toast. In Illinois it is the same thing. Both California, Illinois, New York and NJ have the highest tax burdens in the states are going bankrupt. To be fair I will contrast with R states like Montana, Texas, Indiana, and the rest that tend to have much lower taxes and much better fiscal conditions. Some of those R states are lower on government services however so there is a tradeoff.
In the end it comes down to what is important to you. I lean libertarian in my personal philosophy. I don't like government getting in peoples lives. For that reason I would not outlaw abortions or persue any social agenda. At the same time I know that high taxes and massive deficits will sink our economy and have already screwed gen xers out of the prosperity that our parents enjoyed. Its why we have been in a steady decline as a country.
I watch the PBS Newshour if there's an issue I want more information about from American politics - often that leads to more stuff I can research on the internet. They have both left and right perspectives and pretty interesting debates that are well moderated, also the level of background detail they have is just superb. Don't watch and wouldn't want to watch Fox or NBC (we get both station's business channels out here and they're just useless static by and large). Do occasionally read the New York Times, Washington Post or whatever other American newspaper, but never for political commentary.
Edit: this forum is a pretty good bellwether of political views in the USA, especially the Republican and libertarian views. If you want to find some perspective on a particular issue in politics in the USA from the right side, here is a good place to start.
Last edited by Soberphobia; 09-08-2012 at 04:52 AM.
I'd still strongly advocate learning about how our government was meant to be structured. Biggest point here is to understand the difference between "Federal" and "National".
Reason why this is fundamentally important. Take an issue like Welfare. Most people would say that there should be some kind of safety net, at least for some situations. Republicans and Democrats largely agree on this. The question is, what level of government should this be done at ? Democrats argue that it should be done in Washington. That's a "national" view. Most Repubs would probably argue that Welfare is something that, if the voters so choose, should be done at the State level.
Same with public education. Should it be controlled from Washington ? Or by each state ?
Again, this is important because you might go to some site that says the Dems support public education, while accusing Repubs of being against it because they might want to gut the Dept of Education. It's not that the Repubs are against public education, they just think it should be handled on the state level, that each state should decide how they want to run their schools, as opposed to having dictates handed down by Washington.
This also segues into another topic, which is that for each subject you look at, you really need to look deeply and think about it. Again, Dems will argue that Repubs are against public education, because Repubs want to scale back the power of the teacher's unions, and some/many might favor vouchers.
Of course, this doesn't mean that the Repubs are against Public Education, rather, it means that they just want to change the way things are done. That scaling back union power will BENEFIT public education, as will vouchers. Now, I'm not asking that you agree with the position, but just demonstrating that it's not always clear cut.
Republicans seem to want this both ways. Block grants from the Federal Government without Federal control of those funds. Guess what I'm not represented in the States where those block grants go to.
Just because I don't agree with you 90% of the time, doesn't mean that I think you're a dolt. I think the best way to grasp politics IS to hear what everyone thinks about a subject...not just to adhere unwaveringly to a set of ideologies.
Think about it. You, Potato, Warfish and Doggin agree on many things but all offer a slightly different perspective based on your upbringing and experience. I think that's important to read about and know...hence why I suggested to the OP to read your posts.
Then...then there's Jungle. He freaked out...he really dislikes me because I'm an Athie-gnostic. In his world, I'm not entirely entitled to my opinion and deserve no representation in government...and neither does a "crypto-liberal" (as he calls you) as yourself. The OP should also read his posts...that way, if he ever runs into someone who speaks like him, he knows to stay FAR far away...lolz j/k
Where does the Federal gov't get the money in the first place ? Oh yeah, TAXING the people that live in those states. IOW, they take your money, give it back, and then tell you how you have to spend it.Republicans seem to want this both ways. Block grants from the Federal Government without Federal control of those funds. Guess what I'm not represented in the States where those block grants go to.
Yeah that dogsh!t guy knows a lot...he doesn't even know it's a good thing when a DB intercepts a pass and scores..but he does know how to join you in the chorus line when you get the urge to call people who don't agree with your world view as bigots
I assume the OP at least went to HS. On average, he should have a basic grasp of civics politics and US History, perhaps World history. To approach the age of 30 and never having voted or been aware of political issues of the day smacks of a lot of things, but political awareness, intelligence and understanding the importance of voting - especially living in a state with political focus such as Iowa - is not on that list.
Frankly, he's just looking for a reason or a consensus to vote for or enable B. Hussein - unfortunately, there aren't any logical or rational reasons to do so. The libs and crypto-lib pukes here will invent some. He's not a grade A fancy dope for hitherto ignoring his role in the political process, but if he blindly accepts what a shyster who couldnt get elected dog catcher and other social detritus like yourself believe he will be one.
Last edited by Jungle Shift Jet; 09-08-2012 at 11:03 PM.