Most New Year’s resolutions involve eating healthy or saving money, but paying attention to politics also should be on your list in 2018.
Midterm elections will take place Nov. 6 and will determine the political party that controls the House and the Senate until 2020. It might not be the presidential election, but these elections will impact your life at different levels.
Whatever your political ideology might be, it’s important to keep up with politics and vote. It’s essential to be educated on political issues at times like these when people are more divided than ever.
Divisions reached record levels during Barack Obama’s presidency, but “have grown even larger” in President Donald Trump’s first year, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.
This means, for every side of an issue, there will be a different source of media influence calling for your attention and offering you their perspectives. If you don’t take in this information consciously, you run the risk of having your opinion decided for you, something your democratic American rights are designed to protect you from.
Find out the deadlines for voter registration and absentee ballots and mark them on your calendar.
Read about the seats that are up for election and learn the candidates’ stances on issues that are important to you.
If you’re having a hard time keeping track of how these elections affect you, USA.gov is a great resource to find out what’s going on at the federal, state and local levels, as well as how to vote, depending on if you live in or out of the state in which you’re registered to vote.
Following politicians and news outlets on social media might be the simplest way to keep up with politics in 2018. It’s not just Trump who takes to Twitter to talk politics. Most politicians now have social media accounts that they use to communicate directly with voters. It’s not ideal to derive your beliefs and opinions from Twitter, but it’s a good way to stay up-to-date on what’s going on politically.
Make sure to look at a variety of news outlets, not just one. Getting your information from several places will help you look at all sides of an issue. Wire services like The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg News are trustworthy places to get factual reports on politics and the economy. You also can follow these services on social media and download mobile apps.
However you consume your news, it’s important to remain in touch with the world around you. One of the core goals of a liberal arts education is to give students the skills to think critically. Staying informed is crucial to this goal.
On top of whatever resolution you might have, give priority to the affairs of the country that affect your life every day.