5 Tips for the 2016 Election Season

election 2016I wanted to remove any doubt, so I mentioned early in our Facebook chat that I’m not a Trump supporter. It had been some months since my Danish friend and I had been in touch you see, and even in Copenhagen, they’ve heard the incessant racket of the upcoming US presidential election.

“Oh, I am so glad to know that you [aren’t voting for] Donald Trump. I just would not understand if he becomes the next president. I dare not imagine what would happen in the entire world if Trump becomes the next president,” my Scandinavian friend responded.

I dare not either. But in truth, I have a lot of faith in the people of the US, and I do not believe we will let Trump rise to the highest office in the land. To understate it in the extreme, he’s just not a nice guy. From his “somebody’s doing the raping,” comment to his latest, “I could shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he oozes nastiness. Plus, he’s rude, and downright full of himself.

“Is there even a small chance he can win?” my friend asked me.

“It’s possible,” I told her. “Unlikely, in my opinion, but possible.”

“We will see who wins the election,” she said. (It was time to change the subject.) “Let’s cross our fingers for the right one.”

I am definitely crossing my fingers; but I’m doing a little more than that as well.

  1. I’m informed about candidates. One website I’ve found is votesmart.org. It’s easy to use and in just a few moments you can identify candidates who share your opinions. Ontheissues.com is another site that can help you figure out which candidates match your beliefs.
  2. I’m aware of state and county laws. North Carolina’s Board of Elections website is quite helpful, as is my county’s website. I encourage you to look at your local resources to find out things like registration requirements, polling place location, and voter laws.
  3. I’m informed about issues. I take major shortcuts in getting that information, though. I subscribe to The Skimm, a news brief that is quick and easy to read; also, the writing is clever and witty too. I also listen to political podcasts–10-15 minutes each max. I like The New Yorker, NPR, and some Huff Post podcasts. There are zillions out there, so take your pick.
  4. I’m skeptical. By this, I mean I don’t believe everything I read or hear or even think for that matter. I use tools like snopes.com, factcheck.org, and politifact.com. And listen, I check stuff whether I agree with it or not. Imagine a scenario like this: Aileen’s Perfect Candidate (APC for short) does something so completely awesome and so poignantly selfless that the whole Kingdom of Cyber lights up with the report of it. Do I share APC’s good report? Maybe. But only after checking to see if it might just be a fabrication of APC’s over-eager supporters. See, I know that APC, like every other human, is flawed. So I’m going to avoid statements about APC’s perfection; likewise, I’ll refrain from vilifying APC’s competition.
  5. And when the day comes, I’ll vote. You vote too, okay? If it turns out that we don’t vote for the same candidate, that’s alright.  We can still use our good manners and be respectful of each other.

We’ve got a lot of months until the 2016 election season ends. So let’s try to be kind. Not one of us has all the answers. Not even Donald Trump.

By Aileen MItchell Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 35 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.