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Confused about politics? Here’s how to stay in the know

With the 2020 presidential election primary debates in full swing, everyone seems to be talking about politics—and that can be a *great* thing! Still, you may have a lot of questions when you watch the news with your parents, and it can feel overwhelming if you don't know where to start. You are the future, and you will soon be able to exercise the right to vote for the people who best represent your views and values. Here are a few tips on how to formulate your own opinions and get started on your political education!  

Social media can be a stepping stone

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A good way to get in the know, especially if you aren’t a huge consumer of direct news outlets, is by utilizing the tools you are already familiar with. Follow news outlets and social media accounts that you trust to provide you with accurate information. However, be sure to remember that social media is a public domain where anyone can post anything. When you see current events on your feed, use it as an opportunity to do further research, fact check and analyze what you saw. This is the foundation on which you can start building your views and opinions.

Read a local newspaper

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The major players in the presidential election grab a ton of headlines, but they're not the whole story. If you only focus on national news, you'll miss out on the stuff going on in your own backyard. That's why local papers are so important. Pick up your local paper or follow the paper on Insta or Twitter to get more in-depth info about local politicians who are representing you in Washington. Feel inspired when reading about them? Well, that brings us to your next tip...

Volunteer! 

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Emerge yourself in your causes. If there's a local politician who inspires you, stop by his or her office to chat about internships. If you are super worried about climate change, maybe try participating in a river cleanup to learn more about what products are polluting our oceans and what you can do to reduce your waste. Seeing the effects of these issues in real time will enlighten your mind and ignite your drive to make a difference.

Ask your teachers and parents

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Maybe you come across unfamiliar jargon during your research or find disparities in reports of the same news-worthy situation. Find an opened-minded adult who can sit and walk you through all the questions and information you gathered. They may even be able to offer the insight that online research and anchormen don't. 

How do you engage in politics? Tell us all about it below!

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by Cassandra R Lopez | 2/19/2020
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