Make sure your voice is heard

Election day is coming soon.

It’s hard to avoid.

Campaign ads are already starting to fill up television and radio commercials. Debates are being staged in the coming weeks to allow candidates the opportunity to state their case for why he/she is the best person to fill certain positions.

Politics today have become toxic.

We know this. Even at the highest levels, party allegiances have become too rigid and sharp. Too often, we are left voting for an elephant or a donkey — just because that’s what the party says it’s what we’re “supposed to do.”

Far too often, good candidates get left by the wayside — if they even run at all — because of the mudslinging, dirty politics and all of the things that go along with the political process.

But no matter which side a person is on in November, this election cycle will be important in helping shape the future of our community locally and our nation as a whole.

We urge all voters to do homework when making decisions.

Social media and the internet are great tools that we all use to make our lives easier. But please beware of the old adage that just because something is on the internet, it absolutely, positively does not mean that it’s true.

There are plenty reliable sources of information out there. If they aren’t reporting it, then 99 times out of 100, it likely means that what you’re seeing isn’t true.

Listening to endorsements is fine. There is absolutely no shame in using the opinion of trustworthy people to help make a decision. But at the end of the day, one should never feel pressured at the voting box. Gather the facts, study the issues, then decide with definition on who YOU think is the best person for a position.

By doing that, no matter if your candidate wins or loses, you are doing your civic duty as an American and we commend you for doing so.

Being part of the process in this country is so key. It is literally the meat and potatoes of why we are who we are.

So often, we hear cries about the democratic process with some voters claiming that their vote “doesn’t count” or that their voice “isn’t heard.”

That’s bologna.

Excuse our slang.

We’ve been covering elections for a while. Several times, we’ve seen local races come down to a handful of votes in either direction. In Lafourche Parish, a proposal to raises taxes to fund a pay raise for teachers was struck down by a handful of votes. Turnout was not great for that election. Surely, enough voters who supported the measure, but stayed home, could have changed the race and the history of our area.

Politics sparks much debate and discussion, but we challenge everyone to be part of the process when it’s all said and done.

If you’re not voting, then why spend so much time arguing with someone else about these issues on social media?

Talk is cheap, but actions speak louder than words.

If you feel passionately about a candidate or an issue on the ballot, go out and vote for/against it.

To sit on the couch without voting is a vote toward the issue or person whom you resist.

It’s as simple as that.

There is still some time before the election. There is time to do the research necessary to decide for/against a person or proposal.

We, at The Times, rarely endorse a candidate or issue.

But one thing that we endorse 100 percent of the time is participation in the process.

If you don’t vote, it’s OK. That’s your right as an American.

But please spare us the complaints once things end up not going your way.

Democracy works because it gives people to the people.

When people surrender that power with inactivity, all bets are off for what will happen next.

So put in the time, study the candidates, learn what they stand for, then let your voice be heard.

It’s the American way.

It’s your civic duty.

It’s why we are the greatest nation in the world.