Jessica is a member of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.
At Junior State of America (JSA), a nonpartisan civics organization that educates today's youth about the importance of combatting political apathy, students are taught to look past the party and to the candidate. At a time when it seems that nothing is being done because of partisan gridlock, bipartisanship is important now more than ever.
Looking past party biases and one-sidedness allows students to really take a look at the issues at hand. This year's election presents two front-runners: Democrat incumbent Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Though the race will be awarded to one of these two candidates, most individuals are not familiar with the names Thomas Hoefling, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein or Roseanne Barr. The aforementioned names are the candidates representing other respective parties within our nation, parties that the everyday American does not think about when at the ballot box.
The unfamiliarity of these names amongst our citizens goes to show what elections in the 21st century have come to: two-party politics. Two-party politics has evolved into "Democrat or Republican," "right or left," and "right and wrong," which simply is not the case.
Looking past the party, and even past the candidate, is the most important thing voters need to take into consideration in this election because the issues are what matters. Especially considering the current state of our nation -- our staggering multi-trillion dollar debt, the rise of the healthcare debate, and the issue of funding for various programs -- the propositions being voted upon at the polls will have an even greater effect now more than ever.
This year's presidential election has brought up many important topics of discussion. During the three televised debates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, along with their vice-presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, spoke of their stances on issues ranging from what course of action to take with regards to our nation's undocumented citizens to how to stop our nation's staggering deficit. The presidential debates can be looked at as a main feature of the election that have allowed voters to take a look at the issues at hand. Obama's and Romney's answers to the questions taken from our citizens are what are really critical because they put stress on the significance of contemporary American problems and our dire need to fix them.
Though election 2012 is the time for citizens to vote for the candidate that they think will be best suited to become the leader of our nation, it is also the time to look at the issues that will affect each and every one of us. Looking past the party and instead to the candidate and their stance on issues they represent is what all voters need to do when considering who should next govern our nation.