Every four years, the American electorate selects a new leader of the free world. There are no riots in the streets. There is no bloodshed. There are no political prisoners. Instead, millions of people flood to public schools, churches and city halls to cast their vote and make their voice heard.
To U.S. citizens, this process seems drawn out, overdramatic and exhausting. In the grand scheme of the global community, what happens during a presidential election in the U.S. is nothing short of remarkable. Next week, students at Grand Valley State University will get the opportunity to see the presidential election process in action, and all students should feel compelled to participate.
Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will speak at a town hall meeting at Grand Valley State University on Feb. 15. Sponsored by the GVSU College Republicans, this is a great opportunity for students to become politically engaged and aware right in the GVSU community.
Following a promising showing in the New Hampshire primary, Kasich is rising in popularity and this event offers GVSU students a chance to see what Kasich's message is all about as he climbs above his fellow Republican presidential hopefuls.
Whether you share similar views with Kasich or not, it is important to be aware of the issues at hand and how people from different backgrounds and experiences see the world. If you can't see yourself ever voting for Kasich or any other Republican in the field, it is still worth it to at least hear what Kasich has to say.
Taking the initiative to get involved in the political conversation can help you build credible arguments, whether supporting or opposing a particular candidate, and help you develop a better understanding about the dynamics of politics.
For those that think they've already selected their candidate for the Michigan primary, listening to Kasich will simply reaffirm their voting selection. Don't like what Kasich has to say about health care? Maybe Bernie Sanders' plan is more to your liking. Not sure about Kasich's national security policy? Perhaps Donald Trump's aggressive anti-immigration statements resonate better with you. If, however, listening to Kasich's message strikes your fancy more than you expected, that information is imperative to have prior to your trip to the polls on March. 8.
Ultimately, researching the basics about every candidate helps to form stronger opinions and expands your certainty of your voting decisions.
As Michigan's primary date looms closer and closer, it is inevitable that the Mitten State will receive more attention from the entire field of presidential candidates. Both the Republican and Democratic national committees have announced debates in Michigan the first week of March, guaranteeing multiple visits by candidates on both sides of the political spectrum. Rather than shy away from the media attention, students and other members of the GVSU community need to recognize this opportunity for what it is — a chance to see democracy in action, and there's nothing more important than a free and informed electorate.
Lakers, it is your responsibility to educate yourselves on each candidate's stances so you can choose the best possible option for you. At the bare minimum, that means listening to what those candidates have to say. Kasich has the guts to run for one of the hardest jobs known to man — the least you could do is hear him out.