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Obligated to vote?

I currently reside in the state of Florida, and today is the last day to register to vote before the upcoming election in November. I’ve been a registered voter since 8/24/2004, and have always exercised my right to vote.

I recently had a brief conversation with a co-worker who said she probably won’t vote because  she’s confused about who to vote for. I told her that she should do research on each candidate, and vote for the person she thinks will best represent her lifestyle and values.

It is extremely difficult to do research on a particular candidate without coming across information that is misleading or bias. The media and researchers have developed skills to mask their bias, and have put the inquirers in an unfortunate situation. Politics is and has always been a very heavy topic. It’s easier to make a stand in support of or against something that you’re informed about, but when information is misrepresented, it can be very hard for people to formulate a well-informed opinion. So, I encourage people to not only research their candidates, but also commit to doing research about where and how that research was compiled. We all know that FOX News and MSNBC are two of the most bias media outlets out there. I would not rely on either of these stations to become a well-informed voter. You have to dig deeper than the surface to find out which candidate you should vote for.

Now, I know there are a ton of people who truly  believe that their vote means nothing. I know there is no way to persuade you to think differently in that regard, but if you are anything other than a white male, at some point in history your race or gender was not entitled to vote. If  those who governed America outlawed women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, etc. from voting, then that form of expression must mean something. Yes, voting and who we elect has changed over the years. However, the essence of why we do it has not changed. Not to mention, people have fought, died and put their lives on the line to ensure that all those who come after them would have the right to vote. So, whether or not you think your vote matters, you should still exercise your right because for many of us, it hasn’t always been an option.

If you’re not registered to vote, be sure to find out when your state’s voter registration deadline is. While registering to vote is the first step, make sure you send in your absentee ballot, vote by mail, or show up at the polls. See the process all the way through!

www.gottavote.org

Until Death Do Us Part or Until The First Of The Month

What has happened to the importance of marriage? It seems that the number of those who believe in what it stands for has dwindled severely.  This post is not about who should be allowed to get married, but rather why people are getting married just for the sake of being married. It is simply ridiculous that people are getting married left and right, and don’t even make it to a year of marriage. Why in the world were you married in the first place? It doesn’t help that a lot of these so-called real marriages ending in divorce before a year’s time, are being committed by celebrities. They are not setting good examples for those who admire them.

A good example of this issue, is the marriage that lasted a total of 72 days between Chris Humphries and Kim Kardashian. I believe their marriage was a sham from the beginning. I believe they  married on the basis of fame and fortune. It was obvious to onlookers that their relationship was not based on any true values. Based on an article on http://www.healthguidance.org, most people would say that dating someone for two to three years is a good time frame to learn enough about that person before you decide whether marriage is suitable for your relationship. I definitely agree with that time frame. Kim K. and Chris Humphries were engaged after six months of dating. Based on their lifestyles, how could they possibly know each other well enough to jump into a marriage after six months?

I am in no way implying that celebrities should stick out a marriage that is harmful to those involved. However, I do believe that because of the lifestyles celebrities lead, they have to apply extra care and attention to maintaining and securing their relationships and marriages. When celebrities like Kim K. and Chris Humphries get married and don’t take the commitment they made seriously, it can be damaging to those who do not have a good example of what a marriage is about and should be based on. I am not saying that people should look to celebrities for advice on how to lead a healthy relationship, but it seems that the younger generations are leaning more on what they see on TV rather than the examples set in their own homes.

While I know this is beating a dead horse, the media should shed more light on marriages that actually work. There are plenty of celebrities that are married and have security in their relationship. I am sure they applied more care and focus on strengthening and managing their relationships, which is why theirs works. A good example of a successful celebrity marriage is Denzel Washington and Paulette Washington. They obviously didn’t marry for the attention they would get, but rather the real reasoning behind committing to your partner until death do you part.

I am aware that no one is no longer talking about the 72-day marriage between Kim K. and Chris Humphries; this post was actually influenced by the marriage between Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozada. They were married for a total of 41 days after Lozada filed for divorce after being involved in a domestic dispute. They dated for four months before becoming engaged. What happened to courtship? Their relationship was not based on real values, definitely not any values worthy of marriage. Johnson regularly cheated on Lozada, who was aware. That alone is a reason not to marry someone, and it happened to be the reason that the domestic dispute occurred.  Apparently there were several red flags before the marriage took place, but yet again, we have celebrities who are not focused on what a  marriage should be based on. Unfortunately, you cannot expect someone to change because they have a ring on their finger, especially if their behavior before the marriage was accepted.

Abuse is a valid reason for divorce, but it’s also a valid reason not to engage in a marriage. Johnson was found guilty for slapping a girlfriend in 2000 and had to complete a treatment program. People can change, but he obviously did not. This leads me to believe this probably isn’t the first time he’s hit her. However, that may be something we will never know.

All in all, marriage is taking a beating, and we have those who don’t understand what it should be based on to thank. No, I don’t think celebrities are the only ones who are tarnishing marriage; they just happen to be the focus in this post. I would also like to say that there are some successful marriages where the couple dated for a short period of time before getting married, but this doesn’t seem to be the case in Hollywood.

Below are links that I found some of the information used in this post:

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15125/1/Average-Time-to-Date-Before-Marriage.html

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/chad-johnson-other-nfl-players-domestic-violence-arrests-035300138–nfl.html

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