By Mark Patro
So, yesterday I got caught up in a FaceBook conversation about voter education.
Reader to Mark Patro:
"We should get ourselves educated in ways that allow us to make our own decisions on how policy and legislation should be written." – It's called voting.
The person I was chatting with said, "It's called voting." I sent him a response that included many of the things on this list. I have since expanded it. I hope it is useful to someone:
Mark Patro to Reader:
Its about a lot more than "just" voting.
- We need to understand how political parties work.
- We need to understand how power structures in legislative bodies work.
- We need to know the structure of all three branches of our government.
- We need to understand how rich people have more power in election due to the Citizens United, Supreme Court decision, and how that affects democracy and the democratic process.
- We need to understand and use voter influence, when it works and where it fails.
- We need to understand how conversations that are rooted in "Liberty" can be beneficial to those who own businesses and how they limit democratic participation. We need to know history and, we need to understand how the left and the right write it differently.
- We need to know who is writing the history we read, and we need to verify it with several sources.
- We need to understand when political appeals are based in fact and when they are just rhetoric or propaganda.
- We need to understand when those who want to control the government and power structures are using "popular culture" to work for us or against us.
- We need to understand the difference between policy and law. We need to understand how we can influence policy or law. We need to know when one works better than the other.
- We need to understand how to know the differences between one candidate and another beyond the political party label attached to the end of their name. We need to know the policies they support, which ones they will fight for, and which ones they only give lip service to.
- We need to know that sometime political parties are harmful or beneficial to the democratic/republic’s process.
Voter Education, in my view includes all these things. And probably more. If we wish to keep democracy alive in our country we All need to do more of these things. I didn’t include Running for Office because I was directing this to voters who do other thing while working. You should include it on your list, if it motivates you.