Taylor Doidge
Taylor Doidge
The AP Government students of Van Wert High School will be submitting a weekly editorial to inform the public on a variety of issues. They have been encouraged to research, take a position, and defend their reasoning for having such thoughts. The purpose of these editorials is to provide awareness and knowledge for the community and to be thought provoking. The views expressed in these editorials do not represent Van Wert High School, and are written solely by the student author.

Before this year, I was an uninformed citizen. I barely watched the news, I didn’t know the issues that were unfolding around us, and I was ignorant to politics and the government. I bet some people reading this are the same way I was before starting my senior year.

Why do we need to be an informed citizen? My one vote will not affect anything will it? In fact, yes it does. It is important to be an informed citizen because many issues reported locally and nationally affect people.

Informed citizens are better at making decisions on how to vote and their opinions are based on more facts than just personal feelings. Informed citizens also help others become informed by telling members in their immediate family or community members about things going on which could affect them eventually.

How hard is it to ask a simple question to your parents or children and to have an educated discussion on the subject? By having a more informed society, people will be able to make better decisions which improve quality of life.

The truth is, for our democracy to work it needs not just an informed citizenry, but an engaged one. We’ve known this since this nation’s earliest days. The creators of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 thought the notion important enough to enshrine it in the state’s founding document: “Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people,” they wrote, are “necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties.”

In the reelection of President Barack Obama just under 60 percent of eligible voters exercised their right to vote. Voting is a right given to us, and as “citizens” it should be to our advantage to vote but today it seems more people would rather vote for a singer on American Idol or the Voice than the leader of our own country.

Citizens also benefit from being informed because it helps then develop self-confidence and successfully deal with life changes and challenges. It gives people a voice: in the life of schools, in their communities, and in society at large. Most of all, it enables citizens to make a positive contribution by developing the expertise and experience needed to claim their rights and understand their responsibilities.

Overall being informed prepares us for the challenges and opportunities of adult and working life. Living in a democracy may be a basic right, but it is also a privilege, and it is one that must be earned by living up to the dreams of our founding father for a well-educated and knowledgeable citizenry.