A young man recently posted how overwhelmed he felt about our politics and government. Since our youth, particularly those coming into their first opportunity to vote, have such a great stake in the future of our country, I would like to offer you some advice. … First of all, take a step back from political parties and politicians and really think through what you would like our country to become in your future, what is needed to get there and how it should best address the needs of the most of us. This will take some time and effort. It is not something you can get to by just referencing internet snippets or the pronouncements of others, it has to come from you and what you honestly believe to be right or wrong, fair, ethical and honest. If you find yourselves relying on stereotypical ideas or biased knee-jerk reactions to particular concepts like ‘capitalism: good, socialism: bad’, ask yourselves if and why are these reactions are warranted . I personally find that issues and my biased reactions to key phrases are most often never simply ‘right or wrong’, but somewhere in the middle depending a whole lot on how, for example, ‘capitalism’ or ’socialism’ is implemented and practiced in any particular society. Because of this, I try to avoid stereotypical thinking and use of stereotypes if I can avoid it. … … … Next you have to decide what politician/party that you can best ‘trust’ to achieve the future governance that would best meet our future needs, that can make the sustainable and possibly substantive changes most needed to best benefit the all of us, our country. This can get a little tricky, because it really gets back to issues of trust. There is a great deal of expertise in marketing tactics and paid-for media campaigns to sell the public on certain ideas that benefit the marketer more than you- so how can you possibly sort that out? How can you trust that what you are being ‘sold’ is, in-fact, in line with your beliefs and desires? My advice here is to check as many independent facts as needed, to check into the history of who is trying to sell you their idea. Have their viewpoints changed from the past? If so, have they changed their position for valid reasons, are they making promises that they intend to keep or are they expediently just telling you what they feel they need to, just to get your vote? Have they a record of being trustworthy and honest? Have they honored their past commitments and kept their promises? Are they willing to sacrifice our future for temporary benefits in the present? Have they played ‘fairly’ by all parties involved and not unfairly taken something from someone to benefit just their supporters? You have family, friends, social groups and communities that also have biases that guide their collective beliefs and you need to be careful about getting trapped into a ‘group-think’ mentality- you have to challenge each of these biases from your own perspective. … … These are really difficult issues that can overwhelm most of us, young and old. My advise here is to gather as many opinions as you can and stack the conclusions drawn against any fact-checked source that you can find- and come to your own opinions and conclusions, ones that you can truly believe in. People will often latch onto half-facts or misdirections used by political marketers and quote them here as actual facts, even though they are not- so be careful and be ready to challenge those who would intentionally mislead you. I have many strong opinions and conclusions which I try to assure myself are based on facts and not my biases, although I am sure I still have some. Be open minded and ‘correct’ your opinions if the facts support doing so. I am quite thankful to many of the people on this site who have pointed out misconceptions that I have had regarding details of the facts that I had presumed to be true; I agreed with them and my opinions/conclusions have been modified accordingly. The devil really is in the details. … … … I know this is a lot. Just know what principles guide you, take the time to think through yours and others biases, check facts, look beyond promises made by politicians into your trust that they will walk-their-talk, be open minded and vote your conscience. Honest, honorable and principled people can reach different conclusions and often there is really no absolutely right or wrong conclusion. Accept that fact and take a moment think through the shades of gray involved to see if you should agree or not. Our democracy is a wonderful thing; It’s success is dependent upon all of us being aware and involved, and at times, sacrificing a personal benefit in order to support the greater good. You will make mistakes, nothing and no-one is perfect. There is no guilt in adjusting your views when you have reason to do so. Just think and don’t let yourself be led. I am entrusting the future of my children and grandchildren to you. I have faith that you will discover and do what is right for the all of us in our future.