Written by Tori Lynn
Alright friends, we are rapidly approaching a very important, stressful, and wonderful time… THE NEXT ELECTION CYCLE! One of the many things that I learned in the whirlwind that has been the past three and a half years is the importance of listening. I mean, c’mon y’all… When did we stop listening to each other? We must especially listen to those who do not share our same opinions. This is not to change our minds, but rather to gain perspective and understand why people think and behave the way they do. It is important to stay updated on stories in the zeitgeist so that you can form your own opinion, engage in fruitful discussion, and, most importantly, be geared up to participate in the upcoming voting cycle!
The unfortunate reality of our situation is that we do live in a fake news culture. It is extremely difficult to turn on the television and differentiate lies and truth. Frankly, we shouldn’t have to. Often, it is the larger news stations that are the hardest to rely on because they have developed such an agenda against one another. So, we are forced to rely on some not-so-reliable sources for our information and are, thus, misinformed. This cycle must come to an end. It is time to stop relying on BuzzFeed, SNL, and Twitter for our political knowledge. In actuality, we are at an extremely unique time in the writing of our nation’s history. We are in the heart of change and we have the ability to lift up our country and exercise our right to vote (HUZZAH)! I firmly believe that the best is yet to come.
Despite the notion of fake news, there are so many trustworthy and reliable resources available. In sticking with our theme of listening, below is a list of the best political podcasts to begin shaping your views. Podcasts are currently the fastest growing medium of entertainment. Each is available on iTunes and Spotify and the majority of which have been named “Best Podcasts That Will Make You Politically Smarter” by Business Insider. It’s time to get educated y'all!
1. Pod Save America… Former aides to President Obama - Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor - bring you a “no bullshit,” progressive, hilarious, and uplifting dialogue about politics. They ask the tough questions, but their hopeful outlook leaves listeners feeling better educated and ready to take on the world. (Runs: 1 hr - 1 hr 30 min every 3-4 days)
2. The Ben Shapiro Show… Political commentator, writer, and lawyer Ben Shapiro gives you the fastest growing conservative podcast in the nation. He provides a funny and fact-based discussion from a youthful, Republican viewpoint. He is unafraid to express his disliking of Trump and is also unafraid to hurt your feelings. He analyzes the world through a microscope lens so that nothing gets by him. He’s very on top of what’s what in the nation, asks the hard questions, and gives you the hard answers. (Runs: 50-55 min Monday-Friday)
3. Left, Right & Center… KCRW’s “civilized yet provocative” discussion provides helpful insight on all political opinions, allowing its listeners to reckon with opposing views, relate to others, and gain wisdom about every side to the story that is American politics. (Runs: 40-55 min once a week)
4. The Pollsters… This one is SO cool. The Pollsters is made up of a bipartisan team - Democrat Margie Omero and Republican Kristen Soltis Anderson. It provides listeners with cold, hard facts. Their dynamism leads to a fruitful and interesting discussion. This is the perfect example of conversing with someone who has a different opinion than you and learning from them.
5. The Daily - The New York Times… Hosted by New York Times journalist Michael Barbaro, The Daily is a quick and easy way to stay updated on news stories. It cuts to the chase and discusses only the biggest topics. It leans more to the professional side, like listening to news rather than a conversation. It’s perfect for on-the-go, subway listening. (Runs: 25 min Monday-Friday)
6. Political Gabfest… Voted “Favorite Political Podcast” by Apple Podcast listeners, this podcast is brought to you by New York Times journalist, Emily Bazelon, co-host of CBS This Morning, John Dickerson, and CEO of Atlas Obscura, David Plotz. Due to its informal, conversational nature over some alcoholic beverages, you really feel like you are a part of the discussion. It makes listening and learning easy and non-stress inducing. (Runs: approx. 60 min weekly)
7. Vox’s The Weeds… This one is super unique! The Weeds embraces the chaos that is current politics and media, attempts to unravel, decode, and dissect challenging topics in the zeitgeist, and ties in how it affects our daily lives as Americans! It is hosted by many politically savvy gurus including Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, Dara Lind, and Jane Coaston. (Runs: 50-60 min every Monday and Friday)
8. Up First… This is NPR’s full-on, rapid fire, political recap with a sprinkle of pop culture. It touches on the headline news stories in a quick 10 minutes! It’s hosted by NPR’s own Rachel Martin, David Greene, and Steve Inskeep. (Runs: 10 min Monday-Friday)
It is important to listen but it is equally important to move our thought to action. The right to vote is one of the f***ing coolest things in the world because we can participate in something on a micro-scale that has the potential to affect our country on a macro-scale. #Blessed. So we should take advantage of it! However, since I’ve lived in New York, I have discovered that many non-registered New York voters are unable to participate simply because they are not registered here or they do not know the protocol for filling out an absentee ballot (myself included). It is easier and quicker than you think! Here are simple steps to doing so…
1. Click this link https://www.vote.org/absentee-voting-rules/
2. Scroll to your home state/the state you are registered to vote in
3. Skim the rules to make sure that you meet the requirements
4. Click the GET YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT button
5. Fill out the form.
All in all, it takes 2 minutes to fill out, then you’re all set! Easy Peasy. Make sure to get out and vote in the 2020 elections. Keep gaining knowledge, listening, and taking care of one another.
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