Being informed voter could start tonight Vice presidential debate important too

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Tribune editorial board

How can you make a decision without knowing the facts? It's an all-too-common problem that many of us face each day. And sometimes making slightly uninformed decisions are difficult to avoid.

Too often, however, we make such decisions not because we have to do so, but rather because it is easier to make them than invest the time required to become educated on the subject.

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Even the big decisions, such as elections, are not immune, although we'd like to think voters really paid close attention to political races; we suspect the prognosticators will be proven correct tonight.

As Vice President Dick Cheney faces off against challenger vice president candidate Sen. John Edwards, most folks probably will not notice.

Four years ago, less than half of the viewers who tuned into see the presidential candidate square off in a debate actually managed to see the vice presidential debates.

In true American fashion, the populace sees only the most obvious need and cannot look two-feet beyond it.

As morbid as it may seem, now more than ever Americans need to pay careful attention to learning who the vice presidential candidates are as people.

Being one heartbeat away from the Oval Office has always been an underappreciated position. But with the ever-present danger of another terrorist attack, carefully choosing the vice president is vital.

Almost any American citizen can register, go to the polls and cast a vote. But the real key is for those voters to work hard to educate themselves on the issues, how they feel about the issues and which candidate with whom they most feel at ease.

Becoming an educated voter is important. Learning as much as one can about the candidates is a must. Not doing so is a sure sign you'll likely be defeated. So tune-in, read up and learn as much as you can. And, tonight is the best time to start.