You can vote, but do you know enough to?


Zachary Fouladian, Staff Writer
High school is a time when most students reach the legal voting age, but how many of us actually know enough about politics to make that decision? For most of our lives, we could get by without knowing the specifics, just hating Bush can get you by in most of California.
While some students find it important to keep up with how their government is being run, none of us have ever NEEDED to know. Keeping an opinion, no matter how broad-based, was important, but actually knowing was never required.
Most of what I hear about politics at school has to do with the Republican debates, and not even the actual debates themselves, but just how this candidate or that candidate made a fool out of his or herself. You could have completely missed the debate, not even known that it had happened, and had joined in on the conversation like you knew what you were talking about within a minute and a half.
Of course, we’re in the middle of high school, and we have bigger problems–that annoying teacher, the cute new student, or old friends that are starting to get on our nerves. And since we never had to participate in shaping the next group of politicians for the coming one, two, or four years, spending time on learning about them instead of handling the immediate problems we have seems a little wasteful. But by the end of senior year, all except the unlucky few have grown into adulthood and can now vote. At this point, the question is on how, exactly, to prepare ourselves.
Voting is incredibly important in our form of government, so skipping the ballot is a bad idea, but having an uninformed public vote can actually be counterproductive. If everyone voted but nobody knew who they were voting for, then the victors would not have won because of their political merits but because of luck. With that, useless politicians would eventually rise to power, and the country would cease to function correctly. So a knowledgeable public is a must. But again, high school problems suck up the little extra time we have, so learning would take too much of that time, right?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that hard to learn enough about politics to vote. As long as you don’t want to build an in-depth analysis on the pros and cons of each candidate’s political philosophy, you can read a newspaper or set the radio to NPR on the drive to school or even watch the Republican debates for each candidate’s platform instead of which branch of government Ric