If someone were to approach you and ask you your views on politics, would you be able to give them an honest, educated answer? Suppose a professor wanted to know who you’ll be voting for in 2016. Would you be able to not only spout off a name but give your reasoning as to why?

All too often, I find myself attempting to engage in political conversation and getting responses such as, “Oh, I don’t follow politics,” or “I’m not voting for him, he’s racist,” or “I’ll definitely vote for him, he’ll legalize marijuana!” That’s about as far as those conversations will go.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a political genius by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not following campaigns by the hour, but I still try to keep involved. I feel as though it’s my duty as an informed young adult to do so.

I find it disheartening that so many college-aged people turn a blind eye to the status of our country’s government. I understand that it can get confusing, upsetting and at times just ridiculous, but you can’t ignore a government that will soon play a major role in your life.

At the moment, there are seven confirmed Democratic and 16 confirmed Republican candidates in the presidential race. It’s my assumption that most students would only be able to name three of them — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — so that’s a decent start.

But understanding the candidates for the presidential race means more than just knowing a few names. It’s more than just assuming that Donald Trump is the Devil, and it’s more than just thinking that Hillary Clinton is awesome for being one of the first women to get so involved.

It’s important to do your research and follow the news. If you plan on voting in the next election (and I hope you do) I pray you don’t just choose a candidate based on one thing they’ve said or one policy they hope to enact.

If you vote, you should be able to voice precisely why you believe in this person to run our country. You should understand his or her economic and social views as well as his or her potential policies.

Maybe you feel as if your vote won’t make a difference. You could feel so small in the large scheme of things and write your ignorance off as making a statement. I understand that as well.

However, your knowledge about the political race stretches farther than your vote. We’re growing up, and sooner or later, we’ll be holding actual real-world positions and the status of our government is going to affect us directly, not just our parents.

Your knowledge of what’s going on around us is important. It’s crucial to open your eyes and learn about more than just what’s happening on Twitter.

We’re on our way to job interviews where employers will want to see well-rounded, worldly individuals. They might not specifically ask for your political views, but it doesn’t hurt to have an educated opinion either.

If politics frighten you, I get it. It seems like a scary whirlwind of people screaming on podiums and arguing about what’s best for our country.

The answer is not to turn a blind eye. The answer is not to leave the room when you see a news anchor talking about the presidential election. The answer is to use your resources and become an informed citizen.

It’s embarrassing to see people my age who are entirely clueless as to what’s going on at the head of our country.

There is power in numbers, and we make up a large majority of voters. Learn the facts, and become more aware. Future you will be thankful.

Email Courtney Casey at courtney.casey@cardinalpointsonline.com

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<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/courtney-casey/" rel="tag">Courtney Casey</a>