The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

First Time Voter: fresh criticism on campaign strategies, political ads, and why voting matters

3 min read


The upcoming general election marks my first time as a voting citizen, and, before this election, I had never been politically active.

The most I did was when I had to volunteer with a campaign to receive credit hours for AP Government, and the only thing I enjoyed about it was discovering that my oldest friend was also canvassing, and that we were able to get through it together.

But even without involvement in the political world, it is impossible to avoid constantly being smacked in the face by the barrage of political ads strewn all over the Internet for the unsuspecting U.S. citizen to find. Almost every ad on YouTube is devoted to the 2012 election. If you go anywhere on the Internet you will see a 2012 election ad on one side of the screen.

As was stated previously in the Bullet, many ads are devoted to finger-pointing and smearing. Almost none of them state how the candidate, or party supporting the ad, plans to fix the country’s problems. Even when they do, it is in the vaguest possible terms.

A Romney advertisement spamming YouTube currently claims that if he is elected, he will repeal numerous measures created during the Obama administration, focus on innovation and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

However, this ad is unclear as to what Romney’s “focus on innovation” entails or where these jobs are specifically coming from.

This is an ad you cannot close or skip, and I have seen it several times now, so I know I am not missing any information.

These are the confusing messages that the two campaigns are sending out to people they expect votes from.

Romney obviously wants to grab you with the bit about job creation, and hopes most people will ignore the illogical 90 percent of the rest of his ad. I do not know which is worse: that this is the way campaigns are run now, or that this actually does grab people who do not realize how uninformative it is.

I am not solely targeting Romney. Obama’s ads have not been any better, but Romney’s appear to be more frequent right now.

There are problems in the country, and, unfortunately, some people think that this is the proper way to run political campaigns and get votes. Something I also hear now is that neither candidate is what people want for the future. Neither is focusing on the right issues.

Perhaps the reason voter apathy runs so deep is because so many people did not step up and vote to put the right people in office beforehand. This does not only include presidents. These are senators, representatives, governors and any other elected position that represents the voice of the American public.

The decision for this campaign may devolve down to who you would be least embarrassed to have in office for the next four years, but that does not mean you should not vote.

Refusing to vote because you hate politics and politicians, especially if it is based on the current campaigns, is not the answer.

We have to live with one of these choices in office for the next four years, and we will undoubtedly complain about them, no matter who gets into office.

I will vote. I will do some more research to be sure of who I am OK with voting into office. I encourage others to do research as well. We have plenty of opportunities online and elsewhere to look up where the candidates stand on certain issues and what their parties support.

At least we’ll know that we did what we could for our country’s future, and made the best choice we could see.