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November 10, 2012

A Word of Advice: Make a statement for our nation

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The Daily Star

---- — There are times when we as a people in our nation pull together. 

The first Tuesday in November is not one of those days. On Election Day, none of us can escape the constant arguments, the flurry of opposing ideologies, and the quarreling between candidates and their supporters that fill our lives during the duration of the late summer-early autumn every four years. 

Some of us may simply find it annoying, while others may find the well-being of their runner more important than that of our own. Regardless of how you feel about the issues, to say that the presidential race doesn’t affect you is silly. 

Any way you look at things, we’re living in some hard times. Every day I see fewer people paying for their lunch and more people clipping coupons, more people simply trying to use the resources they can to lessen the blow this Great Recession is dealing them.

Clipping coupons can only do so much though, the economy can only grow as politicians allow it to through passed laws and agreements. Whichever side of things you stand on is up to you, but the most important thing that has to do with those beliefs, is what you want to do with them. 

Oftentimes, when things go bad in our country I hear cries of “It’s all ________s fault!” The thing about that is, whether they believe it or not, they put that person into power. 

Even as teenagers, we have a voice, and its power is something a lot of people underestimate. It may be true that we can’t vote, but we can definitely speak our minds to those old enough to vote. I often talk to a lot of adults in various walks of life about government, and through respectful conversation we learn a lot through each other. 

Sometimes I learn from them, but sometimes as unbelievable as it sounds, they learn from me. If you can present an idea that is well-informed, well-thought-out, and logically sound, age just won’t matter no matter who you’re talking to, so long as the other person is reasonable as well, and there are definitely enough reasonable people in this world for you to talk with to where you can really make a difference in things.   

 The thing with all of that is, anybody can talk big, but to talk smart is an entirely different matter. I’ve heard a lot of great speakers say a lot of completely untrue things that are conveyed so effectively using those speaking skills that a lot of people take those falsehoods as truths. This is where the most important part of being a real decision-maker comes in, being fully read up on the issues. 

Talk in my own school on a political level is often something to behold, when you ask why somebody holds the opinions they do, you often get a lot of stuttering kids lost for words when they try to answer that question. Sometimes, people hear things from people they assume to be smarter than they are and simply accept it. 

“Who am I to question the man on TV?” you may be wondering. Well, the answer to that is simple, you are, and I am, and so is everybody else. 

To get a real idea of what’s going on in the political world, you have to take things for yourself, get the real scoop from the mouth of the person actually trying to get the power to take his/her rhetoric to real world law. Watch debates, watch what they say, how they say it, who they say it to, and when they say it. Comparing all it of together is the only way to get the real facts about what a person supports. 

In addition to learning somebody’s views, the surefire way to know if what the person is saying is true or would really work is to check the facts through a variety of well cited fact checker sources, after all, even if you know what a person is saying, it does nobody any good if what they’re saying is untrue.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “This sounds like a lot of work, and politics are just a big, boring waste of time.” Saying that puts yourself up for more work though, as you’ll spend a lot of time whining that things in our country aren’t going your way.

 People elect our leaders, not some evil force meant to destroy our country. Whether it be votes or a loud voice, there’s always a way to get what you think is right across to people, and even if things don’t end up going your way, you at least know you fought for what you 100 percent believed was right, and there’s always next election.

Austin Czechowski is a sophomore at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. Would you like A Word of Advice from him? Send him an email at adviceaustin@gmail.com, or send him a letter to “Teen Talk: A Word of Advice,” C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.